Monday, December 17, 2007

Getting into my routine

Okay, well today was much better!

The past few days (weeks) have been hectic as I’ve been struggling to get back into sync with a new baby.

Friday while my 5 year old daughter was at homeschool co-op , I was able to really tune in to BabyZ’s needs and follow her patterns more closely. I think I’ve gotten a hang of what she needs and when. Her late afternoon/evening schedule is a bit strange (what newborn’s isn’t?) She sleeps through the night okay and has a regular pattern early morning…but at night she gets off schedule and cries a lot.

She seems to get cranky while I nurse A LOT and I’ve been trying to narrow it down to reasons like …could she be allergic to something I’m eating? So I’ve cut out dairy products. Or… could it be that she’s not latching on correctly? I know that in the beginning she didn’t latch on well, but things have gotten better since Week 1…so maybe that’s not it. Or maybe my letdown is too fast? Too slow? Gosh…there’s too much to figure out. So I’ve just left it alone and figured it’s probably just a growth spurt.

Anyways, that night when my daughter came home we took some more pictures. We figured they’d make great Christmas cards.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dress up, theater plays, and funny questions

Whew!!!? Another month has gone by!!

Wow. Just in this past month we’ve had so many events. At NyGirl’s co-op, we’ve had Biblical Character Day where all the kids got to dress up as their favorite bible character. I’ll need to find that pic on the camera (if it hasn’t been lost, that is!!!)

She dressed up as Queen Esther. It was fun… Also in the past month we’ve been to our local Tuscaloosa Children’s Theater to see “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” - a production put on by many of the talented kids in our local community. We had a great time there of course. There were a few other homeschool groups that attended– so we had a nice discount and sat together during the show.

Let’s see, what else… Our lesson plans? Going differently than expected, needless to say! When I first started homeschooling "officially" back in August I had the whole semester pretty much planned out with an idea that I would alter some things from month to month. My idea now is — take it day by day!!! Honestly, there are some days when we both feel like doing a subject past dinner time in the evening, and it’s perfectly fine for our family. It’s so freeing to know that I don’t have to stick within the boundaries of certain hours within the day, and that we can take school with us wherever we go. And of course, these days I’ve been going to a lot of doctor’s appointments since my baby #2 is due in a few weeks…so NyGirl brings her Abeka language arts workbook to the hospital with her and works on it from there. Very convenient indeed. We do sometimes get those questions like “Has your school let out for the day already?” or “aren’t you supposed to be in school?” Then I have to go through the arduous duty of explaining that we homeschool and it’s all cool. I usually don’t get many more questions after I explain, but it still baffles me that people can still not understand that homeschooling is one of many options of educating children, which means that from time to time they’ll see school-aged children with their parents between the public “school” hours of 8-3. At any rate, I never let it bother me. The questioning is okay with me too, because I’m really quite happy and content with our arrangement. My family enjoys it, I love it, and most of all, NyGirl is having a blast and learning so much. More later (hopefully before Baby 2 is born)…

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

History and math fun

Last week we did a brief history/geography lesson on the Makings of America. Here's NyGirl (age 5) with the globe as she learns to locate the United States on a globe and atlas:

We learned about the American flag and its significance (our freedom from Great Britain and the waving of the flag on the battleground). We also discussed our National Anthem and sung it a bit (and played it on the piano) as part of our music.

The weekend passed by rather quickly and I'm getting ready for the next telechat series at another of my websites-Christian Ladies Connect, so I've spent some time preparing for that. Meanwhile, I've been kind of harried about Nyomi's science lessons for the month.

I've got some objectives in place for her this year for science and I want to cover a segment of these before the end of September-- so I'm doing some spur of the moment search for cool projects to integrate into our objectives and we'll be set. Math-U-See program is EXCELLENT!  We've gone through 12 lessons (although they're set to be paced one lesson per week and we've only been in school for 3 weeks) but she loves the program and I do too. Which says ALOT for this particular program since I'm sooo picky. Currently she's on the concepts of adding numbers together using manipulatives and I'm seeing where she's able to recognize a set of 3 1's within the a "6" block. She will split the block mentally in half and say "I see 3 units on this side and 3 units on the other side, so this is a 6 block". Then we take the 6 block and, say, another 3 block and "smoosh" them together to make "6 + 3 = 9" or "6 + 3 is the same length as 9". The program is quite comprehensive I think...with the exception of money (which we'll work on with time- recognizing pennies, dimes, nickles, and quarters and assigning value to them). I've been meaning to find a good pretend cash register for those upcoming lessons/games.

Well I guess that's all for now... We'll need to do a new podcast episode soon.

Friday, August 24, 2007

First Day of Co-Op

Today was NyGirl's first day in Co-op, where lots of homeschool families get together weekly to give the kids an awesome learning experience to supplement our daily work at home.

NyGirl really had a blast and enjoyed the "classroom" experience of being with other kindergartners and having 4 teachers. Her schedule consists of 4 blocks where she has: reading, creative thinking, P.E. (then snacktime), and finally music. Here is a picture of her wonderful morning:

At morning assembly wearing her name tag and backpack at hand.

More postings later on some of the things we are learning in history this week.

Friday, August 10, 2007

the first Friday

Today we did a more relaxed homeschooling approach since all week long we went straight by the books in our chosen curriculum. Since it's Friday we kind of "chilled" and  then we came home and NyGirl sang with her dad as he played some praise and worship music. She then watered her plant (a sunflower which has grown tremendously under her care in the past 2 months

Afterward she worked on a few handwriting worksheets and played some computer games on   So in all, today she did Language Arts, Music,Science, and P.E. In science, she's been learning about how soil, sunlight, and water help a plant grow.? Here's her beautiful sunflower which she's been growing for about 2 months now:

Overall, this has been a very successful first week of homeschooling.

Up until today, we've been working vigorously through our Abeka program for Language Arts, the Math-U_See for mathematics, practicing writing a-c lowercase, piano lessons, and learning French... French has been great!

Her father's native language is French so it's a real plus having the "source" around to help us integrate the language into our family life. In the meantime, when he's at work we've been playing a game I like to call the "BonBon Game", where we have several differerent colors of candies (or in French "bonbons" or "les bonbons")...but since we don't keep candy at our house we used colored counting chips instead.

I made flash cards and set out groups of 5 red chips, 4 yellow, 3 green, 2 blue, and 1 orange, for example. The flashcards gave both the names of the colors and the amount in French. I would ask "Je voudrais deux bonbons bleu, s'il vout plait" and she would learn that I am asking for 2 blue candies and would give me what I requested. The other half of the game is when she had to ask me (in French) for the amount and colors of candies she wanted.

In piano, she's learning theory (quarter notes, half notes, whole notes), what a measure or bar is, bass clef and treble clef, and so far is able to recognize the notes C,D, and E on a music sheet. On the piano keyboard she recognizes middle C and all low and high C's. Of course, these are things we've been working on since she was very little, so this didn't all happen this week!!! I plan to make some music flashcards (or buy some, or even print some out if I can find a great free resource) so that she can learn to recognize more of the notes. Anyone knows of a great resource for this?? Let me know!

Monday, August 6, 2007

First day of kindergarten

Today was Ny's first day of kindergarten.
I'd say we had a blast!
We started our day at around 7:30 AM with a quick shower, breakfast, prayer, and the pledge of allegiance. She helped me sort laundry into 3 piles/categories (mathematics skills), and we did storytime and went over the class rules for the upcoming year with a Class Rules chart.

We did our calendar for the day - noting the month, day, the season, and the weather for the day.

Then at 8:50 we took her small table and chair out on the porch to enjoy the nice weather and did Math and Bible outside. For math we focused on counting 0-9 with manipulatives using the Math-U-See program. She finished all 5 days of lesson 1 because she didn't want to stop. I'll have to pace her on Lesson 2, but I'm glad she's enjoying math so far.

For Bible we did a lesson, discussion, and worksheet on the creation.

At around 9:30 she changed her into her leotard and I set up a ballet DVD for her P.E. She exercised for about 30 minutes, then on to Handwriting for another 20 minutes. Finally, we did Language arts using the Abeka (and a little of my own twist) in learning vowel sounds.

She's been sight reading very lengthy words since she was 4 and can pick up a King James Bible and start reading, verses and chapters at a learning HOW to read has not been an issue for us in terms of teaching, but we still want to make sure she has the basics of phonics covered, so we chose Abeka mainly because of its strong phonics program...

So we're on break now. It's been a long morning, so we've had free time pretty much all afternoon and it's about time for me to begin cooking dinner and finish up laundry.
But, before the day is over I'll let her get on my computer for a while and freshen up on some common French phrases, and before the end of the day we might have a piano lesson.

These are things we've already been teaching since she was very little, so the transition into today's first day has been rather easy. The only thing extremely different for me is scheduling the amount of hours per day needed to cover my basis for our church school and making sure I document everything we do for my own it's definitely more structured, to say the least.

Overall, this has been an awesome first day of Kindergarten!!!
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