Thursday, February 18, 2016

I'm Moving!

That got your attention, I bet! No, I'm not physically moving blog is moving! I have grown weary of blogger for a few reasons and also, there's been a lot of changes since I first started this old blog back when the boys were little.

So hop on over to my NEW blog (where you'll still find all my posts, pictures, etc!) It's called has a new name! Don't worry, you'll get used to it quickly and I think it's a little easier to remember:)

See you there!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

100th Day of Homeschooling!

I have been wanting to do a homeschooling post for awhile, as we get asked often how it's going and today seems perfect since it's the 100th day!! (okay, I started this post yesterday~Monday it was yesterday!)

We are celebrating because it is a big accomplishment for all of us! We had smoothies and baked oatmeal this morning with "100" in berries on top:) We are doing little fun activities like filling out "100th Day Newspapers" and an estimation/actual sheet on activities done in 100 seconds. The kids are having fun!

Whenever people ask me how it's going, I have to think about it for a minute because it's hard to know what to say or what not to say. And I tend to babble a bit, afraid I am boring people! Homeschooling is going well overall. I don't always feel that way because just like most other people, we have good days and bad days.

It's been a big learning curve for us, figuring out how to work with each other in a small space five days a week! The kids can get snippy with each other and I'd be lying if I didn't mention that I can get snippy, too. Our days tend to go better when we start with a devotional and a little prayer:) We have to work hard on being respectful and NOT complaining!

How do we keep order?

Our four rules posted on the wall are:
1. NO complaining
2. Do your best work
3. Have a good attitude
4. Be respectful

Short and sweet! If they do not follow the rules, the consequences are:
1. You must leave the school room (it is a privilege to be in here!) and you will lose 5 points (we start with 100 points on Mondays)  and possibly gain an extra chore for the day.
2. Write 30+ times an apology for the offense. Lose 10+ points.
3. Lose extracurricular activity and/or privilege. Lose 30 points.

We haven't gotten to number 3 yet, thankfully! They rarely have to do number 2 (that's considered a bad day!) and they really hate to lose points. If they get below 85 by Friday, they are not allowed to have dessert that night or watch a movie/play a game with the family. If they end the week above 100, they get rewards!
What do they study?

Instead of investing in an already made up curriculum (which can cost up to $1,000 per child!), I did a ton of research and picked from several different things. Some are free and some I bought used on ebay. The biggest chunk of money I spent was on a new set of math books. The good part is that they will last for several years!

I am always looking for more things to add to our curriculum to make it more fun or to go more in depth. We get a LOT of books from the library! As in, we always have at least 30 or more checked out at a time. The library is an amazing resource! We even do their languages through a program at the library. Cool!

If you have any interest in knowing specifically what they study, I am more than happy to share. I just figured it would bore you!

Do we like homeschooling?

It was a huge adjustment for us. I knew it would be (because I was told it would be!) but that is different from experiencing it:) Samuel had the hardest time but finally around November, he told me he liked homeschooling. Zakkai has trouble focusing (which wasn't a surprise!) so we have tried to do a few things to help, such as diffusing some calming oils in the schoolroom and he got a portable CD player and good headphones for Christmas so he plays classical music to block out his siblings, which helps a lot! I also separate them when I can:)

I like homeschooling most days. I love that they don't have homework and we don't have to spend our afternoons battling with kids cranky from a whole day at school, hungry, tired, etc. We are done when we are done! I like the extra time with them (mostly) and the extra opportunity to be able to instill the values we want to in them, without constantly having to undo the damage caused at school. And believe me, there was damage! I really like organizing all of our work and doing research for it. I love the people we have been able to connect with this year and all the support from other homeschooling families!

What is tough is constantly trying to guard our schedule and often being made to feel like I am this mean old mom who forces who kids to work instead of having fun. I do take this seriously and I have a responsibility to make sure their work gets done and they are learning a lot! I also get very frustrated when the boys mess around and pick fights and have trouble concentrating. It makes the days soooooo much longer! I also feel frustrated with myself often, wondering if I am doing the best I can and feeling the pressure to juggle all three of them, in three different levels of school. Exhausting!

What about Eliana?

Eliana, I have to admit, has had it easy this year. It has been so challenging to just get the boys going that she has had several days where I don't make her do anything. I always feel guilty but it is what it is and I am trying to have some grace for myself!

She has workbooks she has been working through, Pre-K and Kindergarten and she loves doing several pages a day in those. She has flashcards with sight words on them that we go through and I try to do a letter of the week with words to practice writing and an art craft! Unfortunately, it's a little slower than I was aiming for:)

 She also participates in our Road Trip USA history curriculum and loves learning the states/capitals and coloring a sheet for each state. She knows some of her stuff better than the boys! She also listens in on Spanish most of the time and recently I got her a special book to work on her reading and she loves our reading lessons! I will be working hard to develop a curriculum for her kindergarten year next year and really incorporate her into the school day more. I will definitely need some prayers for wisdom for that because it can be overwhelming!!

All in all, things are going well and we are all learning and growing together. Please feel free to ask any questions you have!!