Thursday, July 15, 2010

July Daybook

Outside my window…

Bright sunshine and far more humidity than we care for. We've been at the pool for swimming lessons again every morning this week and even though it's before 10 a.m. all the adults are crammed under the one beach umbrella for just a bit of shade. Even Ezra just sits there during the class because playing is just too much work.


I am thinking…

about our fall schedule already. Work schedules will change again then and we need to make decisions about whether or not to add extracurriculars for the boys to that pace.


I am thankful for…

An extra day off this week. That means more project time with the boys, more knitting for me, finishing reading The Reluctant Dragon together, and just hanging out. (And maybe some blackberry tarts in there too . . .)

Always Learning…

We started working on our alphabet notebooks this week and Ender started a math journal for part of our daily work.

Ender has spent the last week or so making books. He illustrates several pages and adds text to some, then staples the group together. He has a nice collection going on our reading shelf.

Ezra received a few new puzzles for his birthday so he's been using those every day this week. In his artwork he's been making a real effort to make specific shapes, so that has been fun to encourage and watch.

From the kitchen…

We picked quite a few blackberries with Grandparents last weekend so we've had quite a lot of blackberry cobbler around here this week.

I am wearing…

Khaki shorts, a blue t-shirt and my hair pulled up. I'm still blazing hot.


I am creating…

Baby things. In the last 2 weeks I've made two little baby hats and two pebble vests. I'm currently on a third baby hat and have plans for a cute little sweater for a friend's baby due to arrive in early October.


I am going

to finish working on our fall semester units this week. I have a little bit to put together for the 2ish weeks before Christmas, but that's just about it!

I am reading…

Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey, re-reading Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss and still working through Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper.


I am hoping…

To get the basement storage room re-sorted. I know there are at least 2 boxes of books that I need to get to, and they weren't even close to where I thought I put the books. This time I'm thinking some seriously detailed labels are necessary.


I am hearing…

 The quiet of rest time.

Around the house…

I finally caught up on vacation laundry- we took turns with a stomach virus over the last 2 weeks and that put a little delay in getting everything done. But finally I'm all caught up! Now if only I could find my desk . . .

One of my favorite things…

reading aloud with the boys at the end of the day.


A few plans for the rest of the week . . .

General cleaning, t-ball this weekend, and a lot of staying cool (and maybe popsicle making and eating to help with that!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Basics

I've been stewing for the last however many months now about Kindergarten and the "official" beginning to our home school- at least as far as the state is concerned.


I've worked to foster a lifestyle of education and a home that reflects that philosophy, even though my boys weren't quite school-aged. Simplicity and order has been the focus of our home for the last few years, and despite a dedication to this lifestyle these little thoughts started to creep in:


"What if we miss something really important along the way?"


"What if we miss the perfect time to do something?"


"What if . . . "


My super-organized plan-ahead side went into a bit of hyper-drive there for a bit and lots of lists were made, sites and books read, and advice requested. I don't know why but excessive planning helps me see that we really don't need it all. We're totally okay with about 1/4 of the list. Thankfully I also have a rational side that starts to complain if it looks like we'll be "doing school" too much.


And again, it all comes down to the basics:

  • Faith

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Number work


I'd like to share our plans here with an understanding of the factors for our family:


1. I work full time in my studio, but at odd hours compared to most full-time folks. Our kids are with me in the mornings til just after lunch, with their grandmother until dinner, then daddy in the evening. Daddy rocks the whole "feed them dinner, wrestle/ride bikes/play at the park, take a bath, read books, prayer" evening thing and Grandma gives them the space they need to make all kinds of wild artsy messes and spend 4 hours in a row with legos if that's what they desire.


2. I'm definitely a go-with-the-flow/spur-of-the-moment gal if left to my own devices.


3. My oldest son is Mr. Structure with a capital S.


4. We have to balance the two so neither of us go crazy.


5. My newly minted 3-year-old REALLY wants to be a part of everything.


So, we have a framework for the year built around two concepts: the alphabet and the continents. In between I have a few ideas for interests I think Ender might want to pursue, but I'm going to leave that open for whatever comes up. I could totally wing the whole thing and have a great time doing it, but Ender does a million times better if he knows exactly what to expect from the day.


I wrote a few "units" (I use the term very loosely), 1 for each continent, 1 for astronomy (which we're working through right now) and 1 each for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's all based on our basics- faith, reading, writing, and numbers, with a lot of room to add or subtract as we need to.


Our alphabet framework is nothing new, but it is a way for us to include Ezra while also giving Ender phonics work. We will be working with 1 letter per week with a theme for each day of the week, working toward making a page for each letter to put in an alphabet notebook. I'm planning to use some of the materials available through homeschoolshare, but I'm making some of my own too. I'll share more details as we complete work (provided I find out it actually seems to work for us).

Monday, July 12, 2010


Finally jumping in with Ann Voskamp who encourages me in a million ways . . .

1. My husband, who works so very hard for our family.

2. Ezra's smile that starts the moment his little eyes open in the morning.

3. Two little boys that love to play together.

4. My music studio and the blessing of working with families who are kind and considerate.

5. Fresh strawberry jam. It's still sooooo good, even after having some almost every day for 3 or 4 weeks now.

6. The rhythm and peace of knitting.

7. Quiet mornings.

8. A computer that keeps track of the things my brain can't seem to handle on its own anymore.

9. Routine. I'm a sucker for familiarity.

10. Good movies to watch with my husband.
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