Monday, September 27, 2010

Boy Scouts

My son has finally found a cub scout den to join!  We have certainly had a tough time finding boys his age in the immediate area to play with, so this is the perfect answer.  He is thrilled!  I'm even having a tough time keeping him out of his scout uniform (Aren't they funny).  Our first meeting went wonderfully.  He knows a few of the boys from the short stint of PS so he doesn't feel like an outsider.  Also, it is a small enough group that he isn't overwhelmed.  Neither of my kids are large group types.  They definitely thrive in one-to-one or small group environments.  H is now on a mission to earn his patches.  He already earned a zoo patch at the pack meeting, and likely will earn another for his efforts in karate (need to update the karate situation in a later post).  Little L now wants to find a girl scout troop to join, so the search is on.

On a side note,  I have never heard of this before - the boy scouts sell popcorn for fundraising.  I know all about girl scout cookies, but not boy scout popcorn.  I don't know how I made it this far in life without ever hearing of it.  Oh well... The boys set up a popcorn table at the grocery store on Saturday and sales were fairly good.  I was actually surprised at how supportive people were of the scouts.  A very senior and enthusiastic former Eagle Scout even drilled the boys on their motto and promise.  He told us of all the fond memories he has of scouts, even after all these years. It was quite charming.  I got to sample some of the caramel popcorn... mmmmmm.  Yummy stuff.  Pricey but good.  I bought a bag on the spot (must have been hungry) with plans of more.  As you can guess, H is now selling popcorn to raise funds for the boy scouts.  Would you like to order some?  Here is H's link to the online ordering site.  He would be very thankful for your support.
Now I'm hungry.... sigh.  And not one popcorn kernel in the house....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Change of plans, just for a day

Instead of our usual academics we took a different approach to our day today.  The fall colors are simply stunning right now - leaves freshly dropped from the trees are crisp and richly colored and smell of earth and autumn.  I have had the idea in the back of my mind to get out and collect leaves for a fall project and today was the day.  With rainstorms brewing, we rushed outside with grocery bags in hand and headed up the trail.  Approximately 10 minutes into our hike we arrived at the mother load of autumn leaves.  All colors, shapes, and sizes.  Leaves, twigs, pinecones, and the occasional rock all made their way into our overflowing sacks.  The kids chattering the entire time, picking here, picking there, and helping the branches shed just a few more leaves, breathing the fresh autumn air and simply being in nature was therapeutic for us all.  I once again became the best teacher on the planet, at least for today.  Once our bags were full to bursting, and the threat from distant thunder drew closer, we headed back home with our bounty.  Immediately upon arrival, much like after a Halloween outing, the kids poured out their goodies all over the middle of the living room floor for closer inspection and sorting.  Fall had moved indoors!  As the world's best teacher I prepared for some actual crafting, the kids busied themselves with dreams of collecting more leaves to jump into and then headed to the kitchen table.  Today we would be making fall wreaths, with the added bonus of using hot glue guns for the very first time.  And a bonus it was!  H quickly discovered you could make some pretty neat crystal looking blobs with this glue. After the initial novelty of crystal blobs wore off, the real work began.  Here are some photos of our fall decor creations in progress and finished.  Oh - and the best part, we spent some quality time together, we all had fun, and the cost was FREE! (except for some glue sticks).  Life is good.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Almost Friday

I am astounded at how fast this week is flying by.  Tomorrow is Friday - already!  And Friday signifies our Life Skills day, which means COOKING LESSONS!  The kids have been asking for two days now to do another cooking lesson (it is easy to deduce that this is their all time favorite HS lesson) and so tomorrow their wish will be granted.  On the menu for tomorrow is banana nut bread.  Not because I have any specific plans or lesson to teach, but because we have some very ripe bananas that are screaming to be used  soon - very soon.  I can't wait to sample the goodies!  Yum!

So, I mentioned that this week has flown by.  This is a good thing.  It means we actually had a good week without too much drama (except when I noticed that my son no longer knew how to properly hold a pencil - nor did he wish to adjust his grip... sigh).  We actually covered all lessons planned for the week, and even finished early on two days.  This was a great motivator for the kids (and me).  I am noticing an improved sense of cooperation and less resistance on the kids part (the pencil grip was self-rectified the following day) as we near the end of week two of HS.  Oh JOY!  We CAN do this!

The reason I make the above comment is that I just read a wonderful article at The Pioneer Woman, entitled "Erasing the fear of Homeschooling".  It has taken me two solid years to finally find a sense of confidence in my ability to teach my children and to loose that frantic feeling of "Am I doing it right?".  If only I had seem this article two years ago...  Confidence does come, it sometimes takes a while in getting here though.  Take a peek, perhaps it will help lay some fears to rest for you too.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Week 1 Review

I am so very pleased.  Overall it was quite a successful week one of homeschooling.  Even with the behavioral hiccups, we had a great start to school this year.  A LOT better than last year I must say.  I hate to brag, but I would venture to say that this has probably been our best start yet!  I am very optimistic for a great year full of accomplishments and learning.  It is my biggest hope however, that my relationship with my kids will transform into something deeper, closer, and more harmonious than what we have experienced thus far.  As the teen years inch their way closer and closer, I am so much more aware of how quickly time flies and how soon the kids will begin to follow their own paths.  It pains me to say that I feel like I haven't been able to "really" have the kind of relationship with my kids that I envisioned not so long ago.  Thank goodness there is still time to change the tides in a more favorable direction.  I so look forward to building a new level of closeness with my kids, built on mutual respect and genuine interest and caring for each other.  There is no other time than the present...  My focus is clearer now than it ever was before, and I think I finally have all the tools I need to fulfill my vision.  A favorite quote of mine is ringing so true for me right now -

"Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's time for me to start living the life I have dreamed for myself.... 

ON A LIGHTER NOTE:  Boy did I go off on a tangent... Back to the subject of school now.  We had a fantastic week.  It looks like the schedule I pieced together is going to work nicely (although we may have to start a touch earlier in the morning).  Our accomplishments of the week included;
Basic math review and practice - place value to 100 million, carrying, borrowing, rounding and estimating.  Multiplication begins next week!
Language arts - basic spelling review (actually more like a total refresher), some actual writing (pen to paper) and light grammar and punctuation review.  I am SO THRILLED to see that the kids are much more interested in reading now!  Neither one of them was too thrilled about reading last year, so this is a major hurdle we have overcome.  YAY!
Poetry review - unfortunately the kids have forgotten about half of the poems they memorized last year, so we will begin anew with those.
And the highlight of the week (drum roll please) - the kids got their first official cooking lesson!  Woooo Hooo!  They had a grand time making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies!  I am now considered the "best teacher" in the world.  (Aren't they funny?) It really doesn't get much better than this does it?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A much improved Day 3 of HSing

What a relief!  Our HSing Day #3 went as well as Day 1.  The kids have come to the quick conclusion that it does not pay to be difficult.  Thank goodness!  We swiftly moved through all our lessons without all the moaning and groaning of yesterday.  When the kids showed signs of loosing control of themselves, a quick reminder served to shape them right up.  I feel good!

However, the kids aren't the only ones who learned a lesson.  I am getting back into the swing of things, and am finding that planning a lesson that's not too short or too long takes some practice.  Yesterday was a great learning experience for "what happens when the lesson goes too long".  Oh well.  We all survived and came out in one piece in the end.

I hope that other HS moms out there are having quick and easy success with their students/lessons! What a blessing for parents to be able to stay home and have this time with our children.  It feels so right to be the one who teaches my kids not just academics, but also good character and general life skills.