Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And So We Begin

We began our year on Monday and it went surprisingly well.  As of right now I like our new routine and I hope it sticks around for a while.  At least until we get sick of it.

Coincidentally, Monday evening was also a mini-conference for homeschooling moms in our area.  There was a panel of four veteran homeschooling moms who shared from their hearts their stories, methods, and struggles.  It was tremendously helpful and inspirational.  It left me feeling stronger and more sure that we can do this and yes, there will be plenty of challenges.  But it is possible and more importantly, it is good.  It was the perfect way for me as a mother to begin our year.

One of the mothers who I also consider a friend and someone I look up to a great deal shared something that resonated with me.  She said she now tries to make a point every day to cover what she calls the "three C's" with each of her eight children.  

Conversation 
Having real conversation with each child (i.e. not just giving orders and directions and realizing at the end of the day you never really talked to that child)

Contact 
Physical contact with each child, be it snuggling, a hug, whatever

Compliments 
Ensuring that you take the time to notice (and affirm) what they are doing RIGHT and WELL.

It's easy for those who don't have small children or children at all to think this should be obvious.  But in the midst of diapers and lessons and discipline and making meals and the thousand other things we have to do in a day it is actually quite easy to forget some of these things that are so very important in loving and cherishing our children.  These 'little' things are so huge and so often I know I do not do them well.  It was a good reminder for me amidst a whole lot of other gems and wisdom gleaned from these beautiful women.

As of right now I'm happy about our plans for the year and where the Lord will bring us.  May all of it, the rhythm and routine, the inevitable chaos and burnout, the joy and the tears, the lessons and growth all bring Him glory.

Next up is finalizing the chore lists and getting a fall menu plan down.


 
We found this little guy on our first day of school!  He must've hatched out of the milkweed we picked a few weeks ago and has been munching happily in our front room.  Metaphorical, no?

I love those little gifts from God.

Homeschool perk:  Latin lessons not in a desk.  Or even upright.




Monday, August 27, 2012

Thirty Two Tastes Like Ice Cream Cake

A day at the new pool and homemade ice cream cake.  What more could a girl ask for?




Hey, I saw that picture somewhere else!  Totally famous!   


Homemade raw peanut butter ice cream cake with a chocolate crumb layer and topped with some raw whipped cream to be exact.  I totally made my own cake and it was totally worth shunning the protests of my mom and sisters that I wasn't allowed to make my own cake.  Says who?  I had to put that birthday gift I bought for myself to good use and I totally needed a chocolate peanut butter fix.  I laugh in the face of decorum if it means ice cream cake.



Oh, and there were adorable homemade gifts as well.  Our family made out of clothespins (from Michael and they are hysterical.  I am adorned like the Virgin Mary.  Sweet, sweet delusional child.), three popsicle stick boxes (with bonus glitter) (also Michael), a viking ship (?) (John Paul), another popsicle stick box (John Paul), and a card adorned with a black-eyed susan mostly made by me (David..."Mama, will you please help me draw a black eyed susan for your card?")  Luke was so excited to celebrate he woke me up every half hour or so the night before just to tell me.  Oh, and homemade pickles and a gift card to buy new undergarments.  I am totally living the life, y'all.  I even swam and went under the water, adventurous girl that I am.  Thirty two ain't got nothing on me.

For real, so very blessed and a wonderful day.  Now excuse me while I go polish off that cake...




Friday, August 24, 2012

7 Quick Takes

1.
I bought mums!  And they're starting to bloom!  And I got them in the ground early this year!  I'm hoping I did it in time for the roots to establish and they can come back next year.

Bloom, baby, bloom!
2.
My hydrangeas, on the other hand...


When did I turn all nerdy and old and enjoy talking about garden flowers? 

3.
Speaking of old, I'm going to be 32 on Sunday.  Thirty freaking two.  I'm actually not that weirded out by it.  Thirty was hard but 32 sounds youngish.  Right?  No?  Oh well.  I'm making an ice cream cake and that will be awesome at least. 

4.
I finally got around to getting photo prints done from the beginning of the year until now...

Someone take the camera away from that woman.
Yep.  

5.
The boys and I have been getting a quirky weird fruit to try whenever I bring all of them to the grocery store with me (yes, I am totally that crazy and yes, dear people, my hands are full, thank you for noticing...).  Today was starfruit.  It was...eh.  Texture of a grape, tastes like an apple, but pretty to look at.  Mangos were better.



6.
I wasn't even being sarcastic in that last take.  I actually don't mind when people comment and talk to me about my children.  I don't often have anything intentionally rude said which is weird.  I think my wide eyes and big tank cart might scare people.  (For the record, I don't really consider the whole 'hands full' comment rude which is by far the one I get almost every time I leave the house followed closely by "are they all boys?")  Almost always people just want to talk and are lonely and love seeing children.  Very often it's sweet old people and I love that my kids can bring them a smile and a little bit of joy to their day.  I like that strangers can still talk to each other sometimes.  
(Though note to others: please hide your shock at the fact that yes, they are in fact, all boys.  And please do not express dismay that none of my children are the right gender for your taste.  You probably don't think twice about it but it's not nice.  Especially in front of my little boys who are exactly who they are supposed to be.)

7.
Today, however, was not such a hang out and talk with strangers sort of day.  Three out of four of the littles have a rotten cold and it's been quite the number of sleepless nights around here.  Today was a get in and get out in a sleep deprived haze sort of trip.  Poor Luke-babe is still hanging on and this evening he spiked a high fever.  Say a prayer for him, please?

And after that go visit Jen for more takes of the quick kind...





Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Super Idealistic Homeschool Routine 2012-2013


How in the world will I teach two children, manage a super busy crazy toddler, and care for a crawling baby this year?  This is how.  In theory.  But but but here's the thing before you sigh in frustration thinking that we are serenely and peacefully living this perfectly routined blissful daily schedule or on the opposite side, thinking that we are creating robot children who never have time for spontaneous play or opportunity:

I WON'T ACTUALLY DO THIS.

These schedules are to pacify my neurotic type A personality.  I need to know that I CAN do this.  I need to know that getting everything done that I hope to is actually possible.  When I have a schedule and routine, I feel much freer about going off-schedule, which we very often do.  Does that make sense?  When there is no expected rhythm or routine, I feel out of control and I don't like it.  I lose my peace.  That to me is way more shackling than a flexible schedule. When there is a default mode and the knowledge that if we were to choose we could do things in this way, I feel like I can have a handle on this life.  I feel freer.

So, that's how I do things.  I write routines and meal plans and chore lists and then...I don't really use them.  Though, sometimes I do.  It works for me.  I never promised to make sense all the time.

I do find that the boys thrive with some sort of rhythm in the home.  And they also do well having expectations laid out for them.  It's encourages cooperation when chores or lessons are a result of being on the list rather than something that seems to be made up on mom's whim.  We often get sidetracked from these little routines for good and not so good reasons but again, that's okay.  (Case in point, I do realize that I am living in the land of unicorns and elves when hoping that Luke will be taking a morning nap during the morning lesson time.)  But I just need to know that it can happen not necessarily that it will.

These are simple charts created in Word and I'm okay with that.  They're hung on the refrigerator for easy reference.  Next to them will be the chore lists.

Of course, as with all things in family life and when dealing with real human beings in a real and very imperfect family, this is all subject to change.  Peruse at your own risk...

John Paul’s Daily Routine


Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday

7:30


Wake, Dressed, Breakfast, Chores

9:00

Poetry & Scripture

Holy Mass


9:15

Math


10:00

Writing


10:30

Cursive

Latin

Break


Geography

Latin/Greek Review

11:00


Break

Lunch

Break

12:00


Lunch

(HRC Day)

Gym

Rotating Unit

Art

Sign Language


Lunch

1:30

History



Religion

History



Religion


2:00


Science

Science


2:30


Free Time

Free Time

4:00


Chores

5:00


Dinner

6:00


Evening Routine (Time with Papa, Shower, Family Prayer, Read Alouds/Reading)


8:00


Bedtime



Michael’s Daily Routine


Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday

7:30


Wake, Dressed, Breakfast, Chores

9:00

Poetry & Scripture

Holy Mass


9:15

Math


10:00

Reading


Handwriting

Reading

Handwriting

Reading

10:30


Free Time

11:00



Lunch



12:00


Lunch

(HRC Day)

Art

Gym

Rotating Unit


Lunch

1:30

History


Religion

History

Religion



Science



Science

2:30

Free Time

Free Time


4:00


Chores

5:00


Dinner

6:00

Evening Routine (Time with Papa, Bath, Family Prayer, Read Alouds/Reading)


7:00


Bedtime



David’s Daily Routine


Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday

7:30


Wake, Dressed, Breakfast, Chores

9:00

Poetry & Scripture

Holy Mass


9:15


Lego or Letters


Beads, Buttons, or Beans


Sewing, Stones, or
Sorting/Shape Boards


Puzzles, Playdough, or Painting


Coloring, Cloud Dough, or Computer?

11:00

Lunch


12:00


Lunch

(HRC Day)

Special Time with Mama


Lunch


1:30




Reading with Brothers
 or Free Time



Reading with Brothers
 or Free Time


4:00


Chores

5:00


Dinner

6:00

Evening Routine (Time with Papa, Bath, Family Prayer, Read Alouds/Reading)


7:00

Bedtime


A few notes:  HRC is the Homeschool Resource Center we will be participating in once a week.  I have no idea what I will be doing with the littles during that time but there is a spot for us to wait (suggestions?).  I don't expect David to follow this routine but I liked the idea of having a rotating selection of toddler activities during lesson time and I think he'll appreciate having his own sheet on the fridge.  I think it may make it more novel and appealing to him to have things we only do on certain days.   I tried to make the less parent-intensive ones on days when the older boys would need more direction.  We'll see if it works!  Luke doesn't get a sheet...and he's the huge factor in how all this goes down...

The plan is to start next week.  I've always liked the idea of starting around the feast of the Nativity of Mary (September 8) but I'm always itching get back on routine right around now.  Besides, the earlier we begin the earlier we can enjoy spring guilt-free when all the others are in school!  Perhaps next year I'll aim to begin right after the Assumption as other parts of the country do.  Here in New York most schools don't start until the day after Labor Day and don't get out until the end of June.  I like that I can tweak our year to make it work for us and our family preferences.  May and June should be spent outside, right??  There are no elaborate plans to begin our year except to jump right in and do our best.  Maybe I'll make a dessert or something :)  

Do you keep a routine?  How does your homeschooling day normally flow?  What are your biggest necessities with routine and scheduling and what are things you've learned?  I would love to hear your ideas and plans!




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