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Update

It’s been six months since I’ve added an update to my blog. The silence is due to some major changes that are happening at our house. As of this fall, my children will be entering the public school system. As of last week, I have returned to school and I am getting certified to teach.

I can’t really go into the details online, but it’s become necessary that I go to work. Going to work makes it necessary for my children to go back to school. It’s bittersweet. I always assumed that when and if my children went back to school, it would be one at a time on an as needed basis.

I’ve been scrambling over the past few months to make certain that my children are ready for the public classroom setting. It’s been a daunting task.

After being in class for a week and fully understanding the implications of teaching in the public classroom today, I want you to be encouraged that homeschooling is a great option for your children. If you continue to get your children involved in the community, broaden their world to include people of all walks of life and allow them the opportunity to learn from you and others, you ARE doing a great job! Don’t ever doubt that.

I am excited. I am nervous. I am sad. I am happy. This is a new journey for me and my children. I hope to be the kind of teacher that children will remember for the rest of their lives.

Namaste to everyone!

pb&j

Happy New Year

Today was our first day back to school after our Winter Break.    This morning we implemented our new Chore Chart System.   I’ve had a couple of friends implement Chore Charts this past semester.   I liked both of the systems, so I took a cues from both and came up with a system that would best suit our family.  Thanks ladies for the ideas!  I’ll post pictures soon.

 Although I’m sure it will wear off quickly, everyone LOVED being able to tear off their chores from the “To do” list and velcro them to the “Done” list.   I prepped the system while visiting my mom this past week and now all I have to do is pick out chores for each child out of an envelope taped to the wall.  No writing chores down, no checking them off, no setting up a weekly schedule.  All the chores have been printed out, laminated, and velcro-ed. 

Puddles tried his hand at laundry.  He can wash, he can dry, sadly, he can not fold. I think he takes after his father (although, to be fair, his father is an excellent folder but chooses not to exercise those skills). 

I spent the next few hours helping each of the children with their independent work and trying to gage where they are at and where we might need to bring in reinforcements.  Angelboy needs some more drill work in Math.  He’s coming along quite well in phonics, history and science).  Puddles has proven that he has worked REALLY hard last semester to learn his math facts (especially his addition facts).   Having a child with ADD has taught me that it’s ok to slow down and not move until he’s mastered something!  I’m glad that I’m allowed him the opportunity of mastering drills (On his own, Go Puddles!!).  I bought Bella a new Science Book and a new La Art Daily Drill book. 

The kids and I had fun testing our knowledge of the Northeast USA and look forward to diving back into to Harry Potter and American History tomorrow.

The Blog Blues

I’ve had the blogging blues as of late.   The kids are doing well, schooling is moving right along but mostly I’ve got “stuff” on my mind that has nothing to do with homeschooling.  My mother invited me to a contemplative retreat last week and it did wonders for helping me get out of my head. 

One of my favorite projects that we did was a collage mandala.  Here is mine. 

It’s easy for me to get bogged down with the stuff of life.  Laundry, schoolwork, dishes, dusting, dinner….  As I began picking out pictures for my mandala, I was reminded of why I chose this life.  I willingly chose to walk this journey.   Each picture was like a tiny healing to me.  A beautiful reminder that I am giving my myself to my family and those that come into my home.  And not only am I giving of myself, I’m also giving them the world!  I am passing on my love for our earth, traveling, adventure, history and science into their hearts and lives.

Some things you just have to do yourself.

Sunday night we took the kids Trick or Treating.   to my husband’s aunt’s neighborhood.  (that’s a mouthful) This was our first year to do traditional trick or treating.  Angelboy took great joy in knocking on doors to say “Trick or Treat”!    After 30 minutes of walking, the kids got tired and we decided to head back towards our house.   As we were leaving, the streets were lined both ways with cars.   We slowly made our way out of the maze when we became a part of this.

Lots and lots of THIS!  Because of the parked cars lining the streets (both ways) the road had become a one way street.   After sitting at a stalemate for a few minutes, I bravely got out of our van and directed traffic!  That’s right….Traffic Controller, at your service.  I got three cars to back down the street in reverse, even if begrudgingly and then stood in the middle of the road to ensure no more morons people came into neighborhood until we could get out! 

Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone!  Gold star for me. 🙂

pp&j

New Lapbook added

Tuesday is field trip day!!!!  We are going to the Texas Ren Fest.  In anticipation of our adventure, I’ve put together a lapbook to commemorate the day!  Check out my lapbook page!!

pp&j

The Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Camping.

1. Do GO camping!

 

Whether you own a tent or not, you can go camping.  Many state parks have shelter sites.  All you need is food, chairs and blow up mattresses!  Screened in shelters are a great way to try out camping!  Check state parks in your area for availability. 

2. Do get up every morning and sit in awe of Mother Nature.  Watch the sunrise, admire a spider web covered in dew.  Gaze at the water, trees and forest floor. 

One of the best things about camping is basking in Nature!  Enjoy the sunrise (because you ARE going to get up early).  😉

3.  Do pick a nature trail to hike.  I grew up 3 hours away from the foothills of Arkansas. When I went hiking, it was up a mountain.  Up until a few years ago, I thought that WAS hiking. If you weren’t climbing up a mountain, what was the point?    I’ve since found that Nature Trails are all around.  Finding and hiking them has brought me joy.  Hiking is fun, no mountains necessary!

4.  If you are at a state park, check out the Nature Center.  It’s a Great place for science exploration.   It’s a goldmine for homeschoolers!  We learned about metamorphosis, habitats, trees, snakes, turtles, transitional zones, etc. 

5.  Do Roast Hotdogs.  Children of all ages approve!

6.  Do Set up a hammock  (even if you don’t get to sit on it).  I was too afraid that the hammock rope was going to break or fall apart if I sat on it, but the kids throughly enjoyed swinging in the trees all weekend long.  

7. Do  go with friends.  Camping is fun and being with friends only makes it better.  🙂  I learned how to play Canasta this weekend.  We did morning yoga/stretching together.  It’s a great way to bond. 

8. Do Bring your bike.   Bike the nearest nature trail! 

9.  Do sit around the campfire (or in the shelter) and tell silly ghost stories with the children.

10.  Do get dirty.  Embracing the dirt takes the anxiety out of camping.  Bring extra wipes for emergency clean ups!

Don’ts

1..  Don’t expect a fall camping trip just because it’s technically fall.  100% Humidity and the kids went swimming, enough said.

2. Don’t go camping for three days (if you’re not an expert).  Three day camping trips seem ideal but I promise you they are not, especially if you are camping without your significant other.  It takes a half a day to set up and a half a day to break it all down.  Add to that the need to “cram all your camping fun”  into one full day and that equals ONE REALLY TIRED MOM!  Camp for 4 or 5 days.  You will thank me for it!

3. Don’t forget things like tylenol, dishwashing liquid, knives and paper plates.  Without fail, no matter how many lists you make, you will forget something.  🙂  Try not to sweat it and hopefully a store isn’t too far away. 

4.  Don’t pack everything into one day.  Refer to number 2.   Is it fun to Hike 1 1/2 miles, Take a 2 hour tour of the nature center, Bike a 1 mile trail AND go swimming?  Sure it is.  But is it fun to do it all in one day??  I’ll let you decide.

5.  Don’t bring 2 bikes and three bike riding children.  Well that’s just common sense.  Invest in a bike carrier that you attach to the trunk of your car.  I know that I’m going to!

6. Don’t forget to check your flashlight batteries before you leave.  It also helps to have one MORE flashlight than you have people.  🙂

7.  Don’t be afraid to enforce downtime during the day for you and your children.  Camping is fun and it should be relaxing but it’s also hard work.  Downtime helps parents and children rest and refresh.  The alternative is not pretty.

8.  Don’t lose your shoes in the middle of the night, because you will have to walk to the bathrooms and it won’t be fun.  Refer to number 6.

9.  Don’t feel ashamed if you like a little electricity while you are camping.  You don’t have to be purist.  It’s still fun!  Ok, I’ll admit it.  I camp at a site WITH a shelter, 4 electric outlets and a spigot of running water.  I’m not ashamed.  It’s still camping and it’s still fun. 

10.  Don’t forget to rest.  Refer to number 2.  Plan a nap!  Take a siesta in a chair.  Sit around the fire and just talk.  Hiking, biking and swimming are fun but camping is also about taking a step back from our crazy modern life and just soaking in Mother Nature. 

pp&j