Sunday, May 29, 2005

A landmark day for Peanut!

This Memorial Day weekend is proving to be 'memorable' for Peanut!

The first big news is that she stayed dry today from 1 PM until bedtime at 7:30! She went peepee in the potty 2 times! She is very excited and was SO proud of herself! I'm hoping we're on the verge of getting this potty thing figured out!!

The 2nd big news is she went to bed without her binky (that's a pacifier!). After the Speech Therapist told us that the binky had to go, I'd started putting holes in it each morning when she put it up after bedtime. The last 2 or 3 afternoons, she hadn't even asked for it for rest time! This morning, I cut a big hole in the top... tonight at bedtime she took it and told Daddy it was broken! He reminded her that this was her last binky, and now it was broken. She said "OK" and went to sleep. Now, I'm not expecting it to go THAT easily! LOL I'm sure she'll be up several times tonight looking for it! But at least her first response was pretty good. I'm also expecting a couple of really rough days with behavior as she gets used to not having anything to suck on in 39 months. She weaned from breast to paci, and now she'll have nothing. But she will be OK! We'll help her through it! :)

I hope everyone is having a delightful Memorial Day weekend! We're excited to have Daddy home from work tomorrow! I hope it doesn't rain like it did today though! We have hamburgers and hot dogs set for grilling!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

TWO TRIPLES!

Oh my goodness gracious!!! You read the title correctly! My son hit two TRIPLES in his game today! I am so proud of him!! His first 2 at-bats he struck out. My MIL came today to see his game for the first time ever, so I was really hoping that he would hit the ball so she could see it! Well, I was never expecting this much excitement!! Both balls were hit solidly... these weren't triples because the outfielders bobbled the ball or the infielders made bad plays! The first was a line drive hit into deep left center field. The second was a power hit down the right field line! It was extremely exciting to watch! Hubby was filling in as assistant coach today, so you can imagine his excitement as well, being right on the field when it all took place!

Bubba was awarded his 2nd game ball of the season... this one for his excellent play today! He was so proud of himself, you could tell!

We're going to enjoy the rest of our afternoon and weekend! Happy Memorial Day to everyone! :)

Friday, May 27, 2005

Last Day of School!!

Oh I am so glad this day has finally come!!! Kindergarten and 2nd grade are officially OVER!!! I am so relieved! Wow, I'm really not sounding like the poster mom for homeschooling huh?! LOL

This school year has been stressful, and chaotic! And I'm really hoping this summer will bring a time to refocus, and organize, and get my energy back! Also, I'm hoping to have Potty Training 101 completed over the summer for a certain little 3 year old!

The big kids will have a chance to complete "Sun and Fun" this summer! For every day they read and do some sort of math (predetermined choices by the Mama!), they will get a sun sticker on their calendars. After they get 10 stickers, they get to go for ice cream! YUM!!! So it's an incentive for the kids, and a delicious bonus for mom!

Let the summer begin... school's out until August!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Unusual results?

You know, I am never surprised when my kids produce unusual results! Or I try not to be, anyway! But sometimes still, it catches me off guard!

Peanut had her speech therapy evaluation this afternoon and it went very well! She took to the Speech Therapist immediately! In fact, I didn't even have to go back with her! That was a big victory right there!

After the evaluation we discussed the results, which she started off by saying were 'quite unusual'. She did 2 tests... one was a language test and one was a speech test. On the language test, she scored a 3.4 and a 3.9. ST said that she thinks the 3.4 could have been higher, but she was so busy talking about the pictures she wasn't answering the questions. Big surprise! So overall, her language is average to slightly above. She will be 3 years, 3 months next week.

Now, the speech test was something different altogether! She has very few sounds she can do correctly at all. And to make it even more unusual, the sounds that she DOES have aren't typical. Like she has a 'k' sound but not a more common 'r' or something like that! And she also has a lisp. The ST believes it's a result of the long-term nursing, followed by the pacifier use. I doubt it but I'm not gonna argue the point. We'll just get it taken care of!

The ST was just perplexed by the discrepancy between the higher language scores and the inability to reproduce the sounds. I'm not surprised! It's always something unusual with my kids! :)

So we will start Speech Therapy a week from Monday! We have to pay out of pocket... can you say OUCH? I'm going to have to tweak the budget and see where I can find any extra money! But I will do whatever it takes to get Peanut what she needs! The ST couldn't say if she would grow out of it on her own, and with the lisp I'm not sure I want to try. It could be very fast that she can fix these sounds. I surely will be looking for some sort of results within a few months!

Next evaluation is Occupational Therapy in a week and a half!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Movie Review: Star Wars Revenge of the Sith

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a rather young and hip homeschooling mama left her family for the afternoon and ventured into the land of Jedi, Sith, Wookies, and "The Force". She laughed. She cried. She really LOVED the movie!

OK, I'm really too tired to keep up the whole Star Wars posting theme! LOL

If you can't already tell, I really enjoyed Revenge of the Sith. I may be one of the few who enjoyed this 2nd trilogy as much as the first. But I also really love knowing the story 'behind' the story on so much! It's one of the reasons that Buffy has such a big place in my heart... you get to KNOW the characters and they have a family and a life and connections. They have a history! I have really enjoyed learning the history of the Skywalker family! I thought little Ani was adorable, and the young Padawan Learner Anakin was fascinating. I really enjoyed watching he and Padme fall in love! And let me tell you, that young Obi Wan Kenobi? He is a hottie! So this installment that 'completes' the history of Anakin/Darth Vadar and those in his life was just such an exciting event for me! I just loved all those "OH!! So THAT'S how that happened!" moments!

There has been much discussion on whether this is an appropriate movie for young children. I'm not really sure I can answer that across the board. For the 8-12 year old child who has seen the other 5 movies, I'm not sure this would be such a bad experience, provided they are Star Wars crazy! They already KNOW what Anakin's fate is! The actual scenes are disturbing, but not incredibly so. Especially since it's not a surprise to anyone with a knowledge of the whole story that Anakin is going to betray everyone for the Dark Side. Honestly first 2 hours of the movie are no different than any other Star Wars movie! In fact, some parts were downright funny and elicited a laugh from the sold-out crowd! Now, the last 30 minutes I cried nearly the entire time! It was just so tragic! You know it's going to happen... and you even know that in the very end, everything is OK. But it's just so SAD to watch it happen! You just wanna stand up and say "NO!!! Don't do it!!!" but of course, you can't. And, don't worry, I didn't! :)

I don't have any Cons for this film! I guess I could go back and analyze everything, but I don't want to! This is one of those movies that I just truly enjoyed! The story is now complete, and I am going to have to get Return of the Jedi from netflix now, so I can see Anakin make things right! :)

May The Force be with you!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Brag Alert!!

If you don't like to listen to a mom who is super-proud of something her kid did, or if you don't like hearing about team sports, or if you don't want to read something with alot of exclamations points, please stop reading now!

Don't say you weren't warned!!

Bubba got TWO HITS today at his baseball game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! It was SO incredible and I couldn't be more proud of him! He has really hung in there and didn't give up! He gets lots of walks because of his size, he has a teeny strike zone! It's been frustrating for him not to get a good pitch to hit! And he's struck out about 3 times so far this season, as well!

But not THIS DAY!! This day HE HITS!!

2 singles... one went towards third base, and one went towards first base. See? He is VERY versatile! LOL! Ok, maybe I'm getting a bit carried away now! :) Anyway, I'm so happy for him! And he's very proud of himself too!

Oh and we won the game too! :)

Friday, May 20, 2005

It must be the end of May...

and I know it without looking at a calendar! Wanna know why? Calvert is starting to look mighty friendly again!

At least I'm recognizing it now though! I bought Calvert for Bubba and Princess in May of 2003. Last year in May, I nearly bought it again, but decided against it because of cost. But it's honestly looking really good again to me.

Homeschooling in real life, at the Black Pearl Academy, day-to-day... it just doesn't work in the way that I dream it will. We're not all learning together all nice and cozy. Bubba and Princess are highly competitive, which wouldn't necessarily be a problem if Bubba just didn't have such a hard time with school. Princess is quickly passing him up in many ways. Sitting together for history turns into a competition between who can answer the questions better or who can tell more details and "I was going to say that! She/He stole what I was going to say!" It just ain't alot of fun.

I try to relax and do that sort of unschooling... and then it feels like we're not really learning anything. I wonder if perhaps it's not better to just school them completely separately? Don't try to do history or science together. They are 3 years apart in age, but only 2 grades. Much closer though in ability, which is not helpful at all.

So I'm looking at Calvert again for Bubba mostly. Princess I think would be OK without it for another year or two. The cost is astronomical. That's what stops me from ordering it right this very moment. Perhaps that's a good thing though. I actually have to stop and think first, save up the money, decide if that's really the way to go. Decide if I could really let go the guilt of using a 'box curriculum' that plagued me the last time we used Calvert.

Anyone have any ideas? :(

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Some good news!

I just got off a marathon phone-call-making session and boy is my ear sore! But it's worth it!

I found out that not on will insurance cover the speech and occupational therapy evaluations for Peanut, but that the closest facility (it's literally less than 10 minutes from home) is actually covered! I'm not sure if that's ever happened before in the history of health insurance! So I called that office - they do both speech and occupational therapy in one facility- and they will call me back on Monday with some available times for the evaluation!

Insurance has some specific criteria for whether or not they will cover any of the therapy, but they will definitely cover the evaluation which is just awesome news!! We'll cross that next bridge when we get to it! Also, I found out I don't need the referral from the primary care so even though I called to get it today, I can go ahead and make the appointment for Peanut to be seen! I can even make an appointment for Bubba to get an occupational therapy evaluation if we decide to do that!

Anyway, some good health insurance news! It's nice to get every now and then! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Busy Evening!

Tonight was the AWANA Sparks awards ceremony, so we had to have a quick dinner, followed by a brief birthday party for Bubba! He got National Treasure DVD, and a book called "Don't Know Much About American History" from his sisters! (It sort of became a tradition this year that the siblings got each other a DVD and a book).

Princess got the First Book Award for completing her Skipper Handbook! Bubba got the Sparky Plaque for completing the Sparks program! During his 3 years as a Sparker, he completed the 3 Sparks Handbooks, all of the review (going back and doing the entire handbook again with no helps plus additional verses at the end of the book), PLUS he completed all 3 Workbooks. The workbooks contain more verses plus alot of puzzles and copying of the verses. AWANA is an area where he really shines! He is not a strong reader, he struggles with academics in general... but boy, he can memorize some scripture!! I was so proud of him when he got his plaque! There were about 30 kids in all who also got the Sparky Plaque, so it's not like it's incredibly rare or anything. But it was just very special to me! I think everyone really needs an area that they can shine in! Bubba will move onto the Truth & Training Club at AWANA next year. The verses are even harder, but I have no doubt he's up for the challenge! :)

I took the kids out for ice cream to celebrate their awards. Daddy stayed home with Peanut for this last special Wednesday night time together! Next year, she will go to AWANA with us to be a Cubbie!

A busy evening... but a nice one!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It's a WHAT?!?!?!

OK, the title probably gives it away! But I'll get to that soon enough! :)

We got to the hospital and the nurse on duty hooked me up to a monitor. I found out later from the nurse that my OB had called up to the hospital and told them that I was a first-time mother who assumed that because it was my due date I must be in labor. He wanted me hooked up for an hour or two and sent home. @@ So they did the hour, and nothing had changed. But I was really hurting... so the nurse had me walk around the hospital for a little while. Alison had joined us at the hospital, so she and Russ followed me around singing along with the muzak. Oh I was so not thrilled! Went back to get checked again, and voila! I was progressing. This was around 11 PM. I called mom and dad in SC and told them it was time to come.

There was a shift change around this time, and we were waiting for the epidural guy to come. See? I told you this was not my most Bradley Method birth! At one point I screamed out "Somebody PLEASE help me!!" Thinking back now, I am totally embarrassed! It didn't help that the shift change brought in a new nurse who was the mother of two girls I supervised at Walmart (my night job while pregnant!). Oh talk about the end of the world... I sobbed on her shoulder like a little baby! I got my epidural and things calmed down dramatically! But at some point before the epidural, Alison decided to get on birth control. And she wasn't even dating anyone at the time! (She has gone on to have her own child just last fall so I didn't do any permanent damage!).

By and by... time came to push! I look back and wonder why someone didn't turn off the epidural! It would have gone alot faster! Oh well, hindsight is most definitely 20/20! Anyway, many medical interventions later... the baby was born! And yes, here comes the surprise:

"It's a BOY!"

HUH?!?! 3 ultrasounds have told us definitely "GIRL"! As in girl parts! As in a pink dress in my suitcase to bring baby home in, and a pink bassinett for baby to sleep in! OOPS!

I was literally terrified of my child. I had never been around babies before in my life, and certainly never one I had to be responsible for! It took me 12 hours to even take his little hat off to see if he had hair! I could write for days about all the stuff I did wrong with him as a baby! But that would get boring, and I'd probably need alot of chocolate afterward! I wasn't freaked out about him being a boy though, after the initial 'HUH!" And Russ went with my dad the next day and picked him out a cute little outfit to come home in... nice and blue and sweet!

I really can't believe that's been 9 years ago already! Where has the time gone? My tiny little baby now stands to above my chest! He totally changed my life! He taught me how to be a mom! Sometimes I wish he would have had the mom that Reece had... the older, more experienced, more relaxed (no laughing here folks) mom. But I guess God places each child into the family in the place they are in for a very specific reason! I think one year I'm going to make Austin a t-shirt that reads "I survived my mother and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!" :)

So Happy Birthday to my first-born (in about 4 hours!)!! I'll take a picture of Mr. Birthday Boy tomorrow and put it up on the blog!

9 Years Ago Today....

Ok, I can hear the groans coming already and I haven't even posted this yet! Hee hee!

9 years ago today was my due date with Austin! I woke up this morning feeling somewhat different but unable to put my finger on it. I had an intense need to go shopping! I would later realize that my 'nesting instinct' involves the mall! :) There was a one day sale at a large department store in TN where we lived when Austin was born, and I was waiting for the doors to open that morning! I had stopped working a week earlier to relax and get some things packed up. We would be moving to GA soon after Austin was born, so I knew I had to get the place ready! Russ was already working in GA, and he came home every weekend as my due date neared. My due date was a Friday, so I was expecting him around 6 that evening! Contractions started noticeably happening while I was shopping that morning... a nice calm 15 minutes apart!

Later on in the afternoon, I went in to the doctor because I felt like I was in labor. As would happen 2 more times in my life, I was told I wasn't in labor and to go home. This doctor actually told me to drink 32 ounces of water and eat a big meal. So my friend Alison and I stopped at Sonic on the way home! YUM!

Once we got back to my apartment the contractions started coming harder and more frequently... only now I had to pee because I'd been drinking 32 ounces of water! LOL I remember throwing rolls of toilet paper down the hallway! Keep in mind, this was my first labor! ;) Alison was keeping track of the contractions for me on a piece of paper. We called the doctor again, but he brushed me off. I hadn't yet called Russ to tell him anything was going on. This was back in the days before he and I carried cell phones, and he was en route!

He walked in the door of our apartment to find me still handling labor in a really not-so-Bradley-Method way... throwing things and screaming! LOL He called the doctor back yet again... this time the doctor told us to go to the hospital to get checked out! If my memory serves me right, it was between 7 and 8 PM when we got checked into the hospital!

That's all for now... most of the exciting labor stuff happened in the late evening of the 17th and early on the 18th! I'll write more tonight! You'll have to wait until then to find out how it all transpired! Can you guess what the big surprise was with Austin's birth?? Remember, we've had a big surprise with each of them!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Dreams of a Homeschooling Mother

I am one of those people who usually remembers their dreams! I have some doozies too! And typically, I remember them in vivid detail!

This morning, I was awoken by the sounds of a thunderstorm! Startled awake by the rattling of the windows from the thunder, I remembered the dream I was having as if it had been real life!

Was I dreaming of Captain Jack and the caribbean, luv? Nope. Was I dreaming that Aragorn was greeting me at the coronation with a big juicy kiss? Nada. In my drean, was Boromir telling me about being called home to the clear ringing of silver trumpets? Unfortunately, no. Maybe in my dream, I was on the beach with my hottie of a husband, enjoying some much needed time alone together!!! Wishful thinking.

In the dark of the night, when my brain kicks into high gear and takes me to the places of the subconscious, I dreamed.......

.....that I was having lunch with Steve Demme, the author of Math U See. We were talking about math. @@

I can't help but feel a little disappointed in myself. Has it really come to this? I can think or dream about anything and my brain chooses to think about math?

I think I need a holiday!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Appointment reflections

This is probably just going to be brief because it's been a long day and I'm really worn out! If I think of any other details later, I will write more then! The appointment was really great, and I like the CSW a bunch! We ended up talking a bit about Austin as well, because she asked us to describe Reece's siblings and any issues we were aware of with them.

The CSW didn't really mention anything that was 'news' to me! She believes Reece (and Austin) exhibit some traits that are on the autistic spectrum, but that are very mild! I spoke to her about always getting worried about Austin, and just when I was ready to get him further testing, everything would seem to resolve itself, and then it would happen again and again. She said that is quite common. I told her that's why we were here. I explained all of the issues with Reece and how many are resolved. She said she was really impressed to hear us talk about our kids in such positive terms, knowing their strengths and weaknesses and just wanting to know if there is something we can do to help. She said folks are usually in denial, or are wanting an instant diagnosis.

In the end, she said that there was nothing in what we were describing about Reece's behavior that set off any red flags. She said it sounded as if I have sort of an early intervention program running in the home b/c I have such experience with handling Austin's issues, and those are manifesting in Reece as well so I can handle it fairly well. She does think Reece would benefit from a speech evaluation and an evaluation with the occupational therapist. (She also recommended the OT for Austin). This would give us just a few more ideas for how to help them manage their emotional and self-control. (Russ asked if we could get Mommy some OT @@). She would also like the doctor to see Reece, and we made an appt. for the first available thing: the last day of September. We should see the other therapists before then though for evaluation and any possible therapy they could recommend. If anything changes, and we choose not to pursue the evaluation with the doctor we can just cancel it.

Basically she said whether or not to pursue evaluation and therapies is up to our discretion. We have the freedom as homeschoolers not to really need a diagnosis. And their behaviors are not so bothersome (now that Reece is communicating) to send up red flags. However, she did say that there are services out there that might help Reece (and Austin) with those weak areas that don't seem to be resolving themselves as quickly as we might like (for Reece that would be speech, and for Austin that would be social/emotional stuff).

I will start calling around on Monday to see if insurance will cover any of these other evaluations, and how long we might have to wait for those! The CSW gave me the names of several places that are very close by, so we have numerous options depending on insurance.

That's all I can remember right now! If you have questions, post a comment and it might trigger my memory! lol It was an excellent appointment and I really like this place. I trust that they have Reece's interests at heart and are not just trying to get her diagnosed and medicated.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Tomorrow's the appointment day

When we made this appointment more than a month ago, it was out of despair and fear. Reece wasn't talking. She wasn't understanding. She was melting down and you couldn't get her back. She was doing 'odd' things, like walking on her toes. I had been through most of it with her brother, except for the not talking part. That's the part that scared me the most. At her 3 year well-child visit, her new ped got to see the whole shebang first-hand. What a way to break in a new ped huh? The ped recommended a full developmental evaluation... Reece had not hit one 3 year milestone. I spent hours on the phone with the insurance company trying to get them to pay for the evaluation. Finally, they agreed to pay for 5 visits with a developmental specialist who focuses on autism. The bad news was, this awesome clinic is backlogged. Our intake appt. was scheduled for May, with the chance of getting in to see the doctor not happening until September at the earliest. It was OK though, because this guy is the best and I needed answers.

A few days after the appointment was made, Reece started talking. She then started playing with toys, and with her siblings. She started making jokes. She started counting and recognizing letters. She started replying to my requests to walk on her flat feet with "I walk on my tiptoes! I a ballerina!" She even peed in the potty.. twice! :) It was as if someone had pushed the "on" button, and my baby suddenly came to life! At one point, my husband looked at me and asked, "Are we still worried about her?"

Not really... not anymore. I am OK with "developmentally behind/delayed." I have lived it with Austin for years and years, and have found that it really works out in the end for him. Perhaps if we hadn't chosen to homeschool, that wouldn't be true. But I can go at his pace at home, and frankly his social skills have soared with him at home. He's still not Mr. Social, and his buddies have to remind him not to walk away when they are talking to him... but he's coming around! Reece is a little cookie-cutter of her brother. I don't mind if she's behind, or taking her own sweet time to come to whichever milestone is next. What was scary was when she seemed locked in a world that I couldn't get in to. That lock has been opened now, though. She may never be the social butterfly her sister is, but that's OK!

So we're going to go to the appointment tomorrow. I'm going to tell them basically what I have typed here. I hope they don't feel like I have wasted their time. I wouldn't mind a speech evaluation to see if there is something that can get her more up to the expectations for her age, but honestly she doesn't do badly for someone who has only been speaking for a month or so! Probably a hearing test wouldn't be bad either, but I think I've taken each of the kids in for a hearing test around this age! LOL I don't really want to go to this appointment, but I think in the long run I will be glad I did!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Movie Review: Kingdom of Heaven

I have been anxiously awaiting this movie since I first heard it was coming out! I really needed to see Orlando Bloom in another 'hero' role. His role as Paris in "Troy" really did me in. I know, I know... it's just a character. But he was just such a wimp. It completely ruined Orli for me for a long time! No amount of POTC viewing or LOTR viewing could clear from my memory the sight of Orli crawling on the ground back to his brother after getting beaten up in battle with the husband of the woman he stole. Icky!

As an added bonus, we have just recently studied the Crusades, including reading a book called Saladin by Diane Stanley! So I actually knew what was going on in the story! (I felt like I had a Well-Trained Mind! LOL)

Pros: Orli was just awesome in this movie, and I have to say I liked the added 20 pounds of buff on him! I didn't once think that he doesn't belong here, or that he couldn't pull this off. He was very believable as Balian! My favorite line was when someone told him, "You're just a blacksmith!" There were also a couple of LOTR-esque things that popped out at me! See if you can find them too! Speaking of LOTR, after staring at Guy the whole movie wondering why he looks so familiar, IMDB.com came to the rescue and showed me that Guy was played by Marton Csokas. You may know him better as Celeborn! (For my husband, that would be one of the elf-dudes from Fellowship of the Ring).


Cons: There was entirely too much spattering of blood. Perhaps I've been spoiled by LOTR, but honestly, there is no need to include so much gore in a battle/war movie. I understand that the Crusades were bloody and nasty. But so was the Battle of Helm's Deep, and the Battle of Pelennor Fields. We didn't need to see the blood spraying all over everyone to know that. Also, the movie needed to be a bit longer to let us in some more on the backstory. One day, Balian is distraught over his wife, and the next he is jumping on the princess! I actually commented "He shall mourn no more!" (Movie, anyone??) I also wish they wouldn't have killed off Godfrey so soon. I love Liam Neeson!

So overall this movie gets a 3.5 on the Savvy scale (losing .5 for the unnecessary use of blood and gore)! I'm definitely going to get over and see it again, maybe this weekend!

Look for my reviews on the following movies shortly after their release:
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Batman Begins
Bewitched
War of the Worlds
The Island
Elizabethtown
And only 14 months until POTC 2!!

On a lighter note...

Man, I just went back and re-read that entry down there, and it's depressing. Sheesh.

So to encourage you to come back and read my blog again at another time, I will let you know that I am going to put up my review for Kingdom of Heaven this afternoon during rest time.

And it will include more than just 'drool'! :) Well, maybe. Oops, I forget my husband reads my blog! Um, it will include a detailed analysis of the acting, set design, costumes, and musical score! Yeah! That's it! (Love you sweetie!! ::smooch::)

Me, Myself, and I

Those 3 people are my worst enemies! They are the biggest source of my frustration with homeschooling, and they are the stealers of any content moments I might have.

Last Friday, as you may have read, I went to the homeschool convention. And I made decisions. And now, I'm totally doubting my math decision, once again. I have at least narrowed the issue down to my notions about each of the math programs in question.

I view Math-U-See as a program for moms/kids who don't like or don't do well with math. And I view Singapore Math as a program for moms/kids who are gifted in math. It clouds my judgement. I don't understand why I think this way, except for maybe reading on the message boards? I decided upon Singapore Math for the kids, saying to myself that if the kids have trouble we can always switch to MUS. For the last couple of days, I've been really wondering if I've made the correct decision. I feel that the kids will be missing something if I don't use MUS with them. I can't really quantify the 'something' though. I was confident with my decision to use Singapore Math while I was shopping at the convention.

This is a pattern that just seems to repeat itself ad nauseum with my homeschool curricula decisions. I wish I could get to the root of the problem. Why do I always second-guess myself? Why do I not trust my decisions? Why does it always seem that the grass is greener on the other side of the curriculum?

I'm sure those who I've shared this struggle with think that it's just my way of keeping myself busy. That, at some level, I love all the bouncing back and forth and the doubt. I can guarantee you without a shadow of a doubt that that is not true!! It's so frustrating for me! I would just love for once to make a decision about something related to school, and know in my heart that it is the right one for us! I really hate feeling this way!

Off to start the school day...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Strawberry Fields Forever!

The kids and I (and Daphne's family) went strawberry picking today! I have never been before and it was so much fun! It was perfect weather for it and the kids were all so well-behaved! We had a picnic afterward and enjoyed ourselves very much! The big kids did great with the picking, but Reece kept wanting to pick the yellow ones! :)

I'll put up pics from the fields in a few minutes (bet you didn't guess that was coming! LOL).

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Ahhhhh, bliss!!

Well, it's the day after convention! All I can really say is that we had such a wonderful day!! I picked up Daphne at her husband's work, and we headed over to Jan's! When I picked her up, the first thing she said was, "It's CHRISTMAS DAY!!" It was so cool to know someone else was excited as I was! LOL

We drove over to Jan's and got there about 10 minutes early, so we waited for a few minutes... when Jan's dad arrived to watch her kids, Daphne and I got our stuff out of my van. We all rode in Jan's van. Her husband had surprised her earlier in the week by having her van completely detailed for "Teacher Appreciation Day" on Tuesday! Jan was as hyped up as we were so we just all talked excitedly like kids before Christmas all the way down to the convention! You would have thought we were all going to a day at the spa or something with as excited as we were.

Time seemed to fly once we got into the vendor hall! I started off by checking out My Father's World, since it was very handily the first booth when we walked in. I knew that I needed to make that decision first since it would rule the other decisions I had for the day. More on that later! We had decided to look around first, go to lunch, then come back for shopping! To my surprise, it was 1 PM before we'd even gotten more than halfway through! Time just flew!

We had lunch at IHOP, followed by a little dessert on the way back to the convention! YUM!

Once back at the convention we had only about 3.5 hours left before the vendor hall closed!! We got right to work with the shopping and I think everyone was totally pleased with their purchases! Jan and I both commented on how nice it was to come to convention with specific goals in mind, rather than the previous times we had gone to convention and had been very confused!

After the convention, we took Daphne back to her car at her husband's work, and then Jan and I went to see Kingdom of Heaven. That, of course, will be another entry! ;)

OK, now to address the goals I made before convention (these are in reference to my goals post from a few days ago):

1. It took just a few minutes of looking at the Adventures in My Father's World to know it wasn't for me. It was very directed and I could just see my getting all worked up about not getting something done that was on the list. The Bible part looked very good, but we are quite busy with our AWANA curriculum. The art curriculum they use is OK, but it's very expensive for 2 kids. I wasn't totally thrilled with the selection of spine book for American History. The activities looked to be rather like busy work. It was actually quite freeing to make this decision. How amazing that I could look at something that seems 'great' and know it's not 'great' for us! So we will continue with SOTW next year, adding in lots of the great american history picture books out there for elementary kids!

2. This was a painful decision, but I chose to continue on with Singapore Math. I was just not impressed with the Gamma MUS book. I looked it over, spoke with the MUS rep, and in the end was just more pleased with what I saw from Singapore Math. I think I have been worried to continue with Singapore in case Austin has a problem with it later... but if that ever happens, I can always switch to MUS at THAT point. For now, he is understanding Singapore math and proceeding with it nicely!

3. I bought 2 card games for math, and a set of the neatest dice with various numbers on them! I didn't get the states game that I was looking for, and when I went back for Moneywise Kids it was sold out. Also, I couldn't find the States/Capitals Hot Dots set, and the States/Capitals CD was sold out when I went back for that too! But those are all things I can get locally, or order at another time, so it's not the end of the world!

4. I bought HWT for the kids since it was the same price as online but without having to pay shipping! I did get the workbook for Riley since I think she will like that to start off the school year before we resume copywork. I got the Teacher's Editions for Spelling Workout C and D used. Spelling Workout Student books were $3 more each, so I will order those online.

5. Miller was out of the art paper I wanted so I will buy some manilla paper from The School Box teacher supply store locally.

6. Couldn't find any Clyde Robert Bulla books that were in decent shape. I will order from buy.com the next time they send me a coupon! Our library has a good selection, too. On that note, I decided to do assigned reading for both kids out of the Pathway readers (graded, but not as much like a basal reader). That way I know they are both progressing with reading, and it will allow me to just let Austin and Riley read whatever they love for their free reading each day without worrying about their choices! I am hoping that translates into no tears for mom or for kids! ;)

7. La Clase was not there this year! Very odd, will send him an email about the Level 2 being on DVD like I heard it was supposed to be.

8. We had SOOOOOOOOOOO much fun! It was just about the most perfect day I have ever had! I think I can safely say the same for Jan and for Daphne!! We all had such a great time! We're already making plans for next year's convention!

I have not totally decided on Language Arts, but I am leaning towards keeping on with Rod and Staff next year! That will be my next area of prayer and consideration!

Well, that's about it!! I hope my enthusiasm shows through my posting! Yesterday was absolutely awesome!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Heading out!

After a good night's sleep, and spending an hour of cuddling with Reece this morning, I am ready to head out. If you have to ask where I am going, you haven't been reading my blog lately! Shame on you! :)

I hope everyone has a great day!

Oh, and could someone tell me why it is that everytime Daddy is home, the kids sleep in past 8 AM? Well, Reece didn't... but the big kids are still snoozing and it's 8:15!! Figures, doesn't it?

OK, I'm outta here!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

SO excited!

I had to check the date on the calendar: nope, it's not December 24th!! But I guess it's the homeschool mom equivalent! It's the day before the state homeschool convention!!

It is safe to say I'm a bit excited!!

I have my clothes all laid out. They have actually been laid out since Tuesday, but who's counting right??

The milk crate and the little rolly thing I attach it to are set out and ready to go.

My book lists are printed. I have gone through our library online catalog and noted which books are at the library. The remaining books I found the prices at buy.com and noted them on my list so I can be looking for the best deals! Tonight I am going to make a list of the "Books that would be nice to have if I can find them at good prices". Oh I LOVE LISTS!!!!

I am so excited I can't stand myself!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

36 hours and counting...

It's almost convention time!!! I am SO excited! There is just something about the state Homeschool Convention that makes me get all tingly inside! Maybe it's getting to spend a whole day alone (well, with my best homeschooling buddies, but you know what I mean!). It could be getting to look at ALL of that awesome curricula (a blessing and a curse for those of us with major curriculum addictions!). But more likely it's just being around all those homeschooling families! To see that we're not all that alone, weird, different, deviant, etc! I feel so energized when I get back!!

OK, there is the nitty gritty! These are my goals for the convention. For the record, I am only going to shop this year. I didn't pay for the full pass since there weren't very many people I wanted to hear speak. Also, I only have one day this year instead of two to attend so I need to spend most of my time deciding and shopping!

Goals for 2005 Homeschool Convention:

1. Look at Adventures in My Father's World from My Father's World. This is a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum designed for oldest children who are in 2nd/3rd grades. It is an overview of American History, but also includes science, Bible, art, etc! If this looks good, it will replace SOTW for now. We will return to SOTW with our next history rotation (MFW uses it in their 5 year history program!). If this doesn't look good... we will continue on with SOTW 3 next year.

2. Look at both MUS Gamma and Singapore 2B/3A to make a decision on that. On the way home tonight I was struck by how Math has been the bane of my homeschooling existence. How many programs have we used? 5? 6? Tonight this came into my head regarding math: "It is a strange fate we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing... such a little thing." OK, so I even think LOTR in my head. But it's truth. Going to compare and contrast at the convention! :)

3. Find some fun games to go with our studies next year!

4. Purchase Spelling Workout and Handwriting Without Tears if they are cheaper than online. (note: decide if Riley needs a HWT workbook or if she will be fine with just continuing to do copywork that I make up).

5. Get some art/crafts paper from Miller Pads and Paper since we're out of manilla paper.

6. Buy any and all Clyde Robert Bulla books I can find for Austin (that we don't already have!).

7. Purchase La Clase Divertida Level 2, unless they will soon be offering it on DVD then I will wait!

8. Have a fun time curriculum shopping with Jan, and with Daphne and Sherry if they get to come along too!! Enjoy fun-filled lunch with aforementioned friends!

(Also, decide if Rod & Staff English is the way I want to approach Language Arts. This is a fairly complicated decision and one that might not be made Friday. But I will keep it in mind as I browse. )

I think that's about it! It's nice to have clearly outlined goals isn't it? I feel like I'm experienced enough to know what I want to accomplish so I don't get overwhelmed!! ::doing the little excited happy dance:: How am I ever going to sleep tomorrow night!?!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The one where Jennifer screws up!

I hate it when I have had poor judgment.

I assign Austin reading for school work. He doesn't enjoy reading, and he thinks he's not very good. Most of the time I will tandem read with him and that seems to help. I assigned him a book called "Emily's Runaway Imagination" by Beverly Cleary. This book is one of the Sonlight Core 2 advanced books. It is listed as a 4.7 reader on the Accelerated Reader list I use as a reference. So yes, it's going to be more difficult.

Yesterday when Mom and Dad were here, I had Austin tandem read with mom. He gave her a really hard time. Cried and carried on and on. He did the same for me today.

And that's when the poor judgement comes in: I told him to pick another book. It sounded like a good idea at the time. But honestly when is this child going to ever accept a challenge!? It's the same with math. Really, it's the same with ALL his academics. He doesn't want to ever try anything new or that requires brain power. And I've not been adequate at forcing the issue. I really want him to love reading and learning... but it's just not happening. He is at the end of 2nd grade and something needs to change. I feel like I'm shortchanging him. I feel that he's behind (did anyone else hear the echos of Behind Who?? or was it just me) and if I don't start requiring more of him, he will continue to be behind.

Where is that line, I wonder? Where do you balance relaxing and instilling a love of learning with a child who is capable and just lazy or otherwise unmotivated to learn? If he were at school and this were happening I would blame the teacher! LOL

I told him later that we will read this new book he chose, and then go back and read Emily's Runaway Imagination. It will probably be our last book of the "school year". I am just trying some damage control. ::insert a deep sigh here to show I'm disappointed in myself::