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Friday, July 30, 2010

My poor kid

Woken by crying at three a.m. DS had his first charlie horse. Now I don't know about anyone elses children but...of all the kids in the world I almost fear my son's anguish. He's so vocal that he is screeching like a howling dog. I love him but really he needs to tone it down at three a.m. I console and or rather try to console. Like most men my son already has a independent streak in him that makes it hard to console him. He's had it since birth. He resists all attempts at comfort and reason. By 3.30 am I tell him he should just lay down next to me till the pain subsides. Apparently he was very weary by now because he fell back to sleep almost instantly. Unfortunately for my husband and myself we now get to toss coins for who is relegated to the couch. Well like his son, my DH's manly nature dictates he must take the couch. I say goodnight to my husband as he shambles out of the room. How often that man has proven his worth as a partner in life. Often overlooked when the compost is forgotten he is my rock of support. So morning came early here. My poor son is suffering all day from the after effects of his rough night. I hope that this has been a learning experience in some way as I describe for the one hundredth time that holding one's neck in an unnatural position in an attempt to ease pain is only going to prolong the pain. Sigh. No school today.
Although I guess we did learn something when playing outside they watched as I took rocks, dandelion leaves, and twigs to make a house for a toy of theirs. They then set to work engineering their own structure from some bricks and wood that was laying around for the sheer joy of engineering.
And me tired from a long night flopped in a lawn chair to toss the tennis ball to the dog who never tires of fetch.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

High Time!

I figured it's high time I posted something. lol. Time has been busy with nice weather and good health. The kids are getting restless so I have decided summer play will be reduced and educational activities will be added.
The home ec cooking seems to be a bit more then they can handle at this time. Or perhaps more then I can handle. I shall have to rework the requirements for that.
School store remained closed this past week because neither of them earned any money in the preceeding week. So it should work to their benefit to return to lessons. A few days off and already DD has forgotten how to skip count by twos and my DS seems to becoming unruly. Structure here is a must apparently. Perhaps we will try the three weeks on one week off method. I am not sure that a whole week off is needed although it certainly allows for more house cleaning.
This past weekend we again went garage saling. It was rather dismal. The highlight was DS found and plastic ball for 25cents that switches its color when tossed into the air. It really is an engineering lesson in itself. It actually flips itself inside out. Very impressive.
I got to weeding in the garden and discovered some plants I thought were forgotten and some that were positively starved for light. We took the hedge trimmer to the overgrowth among the spireas and sandcherry. A small limb was removed from our early summer apple tree which is again dropping it's apples. The tree appears to have a crack and will likely need replacing as well as the birch tree in the backyard. I really had hoped to plant some young trees to start growing in to replace them this year but I am not sure that that will happen.
DH is working long hours making days at home very long and tiring. I am really glad the humidity that we normally experience has been replaced with a much appreciated breeze.
More weeding to do still as my yard which is adequate in size is 85% gardens of one variety or another. Well that's this past weeks summary. I do hope that the links you find here proving useful in your schooling.
I would also encourage you to check out the homeschool forum www.homeschoolspot.com it is a very welcoming board with many topics to gain advice from.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Ooops sorry Mom it's out there now ;0P

I have been reading so much since I started homeschooling eight months ago. I have come across some pretty interesting information. But for now I just wanted to share my early childhood. (yes Mom I am revisiting this tale toned down for you twenty odd years later. Forgive me.)
My parents were hippies the nature loving kind :) And so they built our home from the ground up. We homesteaded before it became a catch phrase. Mom grew an immense garden of veggies and tried her hand at various fruits something that was harder at the time due to the zone we were in.
Our home had no television or anything electric and no one missed it. We would play charades in the long winter hours and make puzzles. My sister and I filled our free time (we were PS kids) with all sorts of wonderful games. We wandered freely in the bush playing in the tall ferns and poking in the stream. We liked to wander to the beaver pond at the back of our property and poke at the leaches that swam in the beavers channel. (No Mom wasn't happy about that.) We carried frog eggs on shovels trying to relocate them.(Probably not the best way to transport eggs.) One of our favorite things was to bend tall grasses over and make tunnels in them to crawl through. Or playing rabbit and fox under the evergreen boughs that hung low in the winter. There was just enough room to crawl under in a cozy little nook.
I remember large boxes of ripening tomatoes in the hall come fall time and eating them raw with great zest as they were more refreshing then apples. I got turned off of apples one year by biting into a worm, organic can be overrated ;P
And Mom would spend a lot of her time canning. Oh the canned goods were the best, peaches, tomatoes, pickled beans, pickled carrots, corn relish, bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, on and on it went. And although I loved the fruits of her labors I can honestly say I detested berry picking especially the fingernail sized wild strawberries. Sure they made delicious jam but sitting in a hot field picking was really boring.
I never gave it any thought as to how I was living until now. I am a parent myself and no we are not homesteaders. I don't know how my mother had energy for it all. But I do appreciate all the effort. And even though our plumbing was outdoors and that could be rather scary at night all alone. I wouldn't trade my hippie childhood in for all the xbox's in the world.
And some days when the winter winds blow I remember with fondness the magical glow everything had by the light of the kerosene lamps and I miss them. :)
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010


So being sick with bronchitis in the humidity we have here has been really rough. Which means loads of laundry that weren't put away for awhile. So before my kids starting going naked I decided since I can breathe better today I should make the effort. Well, apparently although they have been playing together beautifully part of that is making gigantic messes. So back to shovelling out the rooms. I went through three bookshelves, after the books were gathered from hither and yond. And put away four laundry hampers of clothes. DS has been on a growth spurt lately bulking up before the big upward burst, so we sorted out clothes that didn't fit also. And we tidied toys. And there is still so much more to get done. It really never ends. I really am working on the kids learning to put things away when they are done. Translation is Mom has to instruct them everyday to clean virtually everything up that they have taken out which is nearly everything. I wish I had a magic wand so my lesson on cleaning up with the kids would stick.
So ends the rant :P
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Terminology, Confusion and Overload.

I am relatively new to this homeschooling lifestyle. And admittedly have been reading for the last several months as much as I can online from forums, blogs, web pages and so on about homeschooling. What I have found is a number of terms that left me stymied for the most part and looking for more information. My journey so far has left me feeling a little like I did when in high school, I went to PS, I decided to take a 'easy' business course and the teacher used so many terms within terms that my head was literally spinning for the sheer lack of comprehension of all of it. Gifted, Spatial Learning, Visual Learning, Kinestheic Learning, among all the learning styles I discovered there was also a long list of learning methods. Methods which were new to me. Now I have done a lot reading and it seems there is no shortage of people offering their opinions on these topics however I am left with the feeling that what hasn't been discussed ad nauseum are teaching styles.
You can pick the best curriculum, you can know your childs learning style, you can have the best laid plans but what if your teaching style doesn't mesh with all of the above. What then?
Yes there is a need to learn about the above certainly but I wonder as I read about the academic side of home learning where are the mentions of teaching? It seems as parents/teachers we are overlooking a vital part of home learning. Teaching methods are equally important and I am not talking your philosophy of schooling ie Unschooling, Charlotte Mason or whatever else you have choosen. I mean the daily flavor and face you put on to teach. Are you a happy teacher who delights in the teaching of your kids. Are you a bored teacher reguritating facts. Where do you fit.

I hope we all fit in this journey we have choosen with a happy face to meet the morning and that when it's time for lights out we still can smile at the sheer wonder of our beautiful children and their blossoming minds.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Today is Home Ec Day 1

Day one of Home Economics for kids. Back in the day when I was in PS we occasionally got to experience Home EC although for the most part it was already being phased out. Well I for one think it's vital for kids to learn how to cook and to learn to think about meals more in depth other then 'what's for dinner Mom?'.
So to get them to work cooperatively on the project I pulled out cookbooks. I have a lot of the Company's Coming cookbooks with pictures which helps them to decide. They had the choice of making it together or choosing to make the dinner and desert separate. Well DS is making pizza pockets from scratch and DD decided upon a raspberry cupcake recipe. Then it was time to put them to work. They worked together with me watching from a tough to maintain distance. As DS read the cookbooks and instructed his sister throughout her cupcake mixing. And then DS read and made his dough.
It's almost time to ice those cupcakes. They sure smell delicious and look really wonderful :)
I hope to have them do it once a week to help with math, cooperation, meal planning, but most of all for fun! They had a lot of fun working together and are so proud of their efforts. As well they should be for a seven and five year old.

The school store was a moderate success. The money they had earned in the first week was spent on snacks mostly. Although DD did buy herself a non food item. So that was nice to see. DS has his eye on a building kit I got at a garage sale last weekend. He has to earn $5 first though through hard work so we shall see.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Treasure Hunting!

Well treasures abounded this weekend :). As I said we love yard sales. This city has a lot during the summer months. We wake up early load up and take off for five hours or so to treasure hunt. This weekend I found a estate sale that was a artists treasure trove. I picked up three super large sketch books unused. Their value in the store is well over $50. I could have been greedy and picked up more but they hadn't listed the asking price. So I was hesitant to ask. Very happily I paid for these great sketch books for a whopping $3!
Then off to a sale with kids clothes and toys. Always a favorite with the kids are the toys of course. Why buy new when we can purchase great quality toys second hand? DD got a huge bunch LPS( Littlest Pet Shops) something I don't like to buy new because they are over packaged and priced for what you get. So she was thrilled.
DS found some more matchbox style cars. Not that he really needed more but it keeps them amused while Mom and Dad scoured other sales.
Where DH found a lot of tools. And my real find of the day a solid entertainment unit with transom doors and stain glass door fronts. With glass shelving inside. A big purchase for $3 :P
We love hunting to find that one thing that maybe we won't have to pay full price on that is needed here at home. Like the office organizers I found. I think I will use them to set up a workbox system for light school days when no major lessons or lapbooking is going on.
I really have to get some pictures of our new 'classroom' although we are relaxed ecclectic homeschoolers we are fortunate enough to have the space to dedicate to storing and working on our lessons. And since the kids like the homeschool atmosphere it works well.
So far I have got about 50% of it organized for next Sept/Oct when we will start to hit the books hard. LOL well not really more when I will get into more lessons. Right now we are having a easy summer. Mostly because of my bronchitis making speaking without coughing a chore :(. But once I am hail and hardy again I think I would like to do more field trips while the weather is nice. And I do hope that is soon. The wild blueberries are ripe for the picking and we have two weeks before our big "vacation" to go picking.
In other news we are forced to making a kennel for the dog while we are gone as she appears to have some sort of separation anxiety and she turns into 'Marley' well not really that bad. Just some potty issues and guinea pig snuffling that needs to be avoided.
So we have decided to make part of our driveway which is ridiculously large into a fenced in kennel. DH has been working with a friend at his saw mill milling wood and has gotten a lot of rough sawn boards for his efforts, so we will use some of those I think.
More work, always more work. But where there is a will there is always a way.
So that's today. Tomorrow the kids are looking forward to hitting the school store. They very responsibly deposited paycheques into the school bank for withdrawals later. We told them that if they lost their paycheques or their money that, like in real life/adult life they would be out that money. Just a way to get them to think and be more responsible.
Oh and yesterday DS decided to earn bonus monies for store time he would continue his school lessons by telling me how he understood division. I have been putting him off on that even though he is eager until Sept so he could get the multiplication facts down. But he did get the concept of division and so he pulled out his dry erase division tables and did the first two on his own. I was really proud of him. And as if that wasn't a golden enough moment he decided to dry the supper dishes without being asked. A quality that will no doubt stand him in good stead down the road.
Well I have prattled on enough. I should go and get some work done ;)
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Paycheques for kids?

Having read over what feels like a hundred ideas from other people we have come up with our own version of school finance lessons. Since DD is five and not learned coins yet too much I printed out Canadian coins on paper, oversized.
We will give the kids each their own paycheque for the school money that I printed. They earn money for their weekly paycheque based on how well they attend to their lessons ie, no excessive whinning, procrastinating etc..Each lesson is worth twenty five cents. I keep track of the lessons earnings with tiny stickers on the bulletin board. If they are really bad during the day they may have a deduction from their paycheques. And on the flipside if they do something extraordinary like asking to do a school project or being extra nice to one another they will earn a bonus. The idea is too get them to think about how to be more responsible. And then having gotten their paycheques they then may take them to the school bank. Where Dad aka the banker will cash cheques or deposit accordingly. Thus they are learning a little banking lesson and how to save. On the weekends we will open the school store. Having previously stocked it with items of interest. I made a catalogue for them at DS's request with the choices they will get when they enter the store. Anything from snacks they don't normally get, toys, to vouchers for special events, like nighttime hikes with flashlights. The catalogue was DS idea he wanted to have something to peruse while waiting for the store to open. It also gives them the idea of what things will cost and what they may want to save for. We are allowing them to pool their monies if there is something particularly expensive that they both would like say a new board game.
So today is the first paycheque day and we are all very excited to see how this works on a weekly basis.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Heat, Humidity and Bronchitis

So my plan to keep teaching through summer is being quashed with me being down with bronchitis. Boy am I ever sick of coughing.
However the kids surprised me with a lovely artwork involving a blue sleeping bag as the backdrop. They then took all the sea animal stuffies they had and some real shells and made a lovely composition. Not bad for amusement from a five and seven year old. :)
And yesterday DD took all of the lego people and lined the ring that goes around the globe with them and we made up a lovely song about people being different. Even ones with pumpkin heads, one of the lego people had one ;)
So I guess in their own way they are continuing with their life lessons on their own.

In other news I am pretty frustrated that I can't figure out how to add buttons to this page. Hmm more reading is needed.
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Warmth and Goldfish

Finally the sun has returned to reveal nice weather for this country's birthday! Happy Canada Day world.
The kids and I caught more goldfish from the pond and put them into a small tank in the house. They are starting to show some colors which is nice to see. And certainly we have no need of hundreds of fish in our pond. As far as urban ponds go it's a good size but not so large that it needs to be teaming. Already the warm weather is bringing out the hair algae. But I know the water is still good because we have swarms of damselflies and skeeter bugs. And to top off knowing the pond is a healthy ecosystem we startled a frog from where it was resting in the rushes.
We finished up our Canada Day Lapbooks from www.homeschoolshare.com which we added to with a map of Canada that had the provinces labelled and a local coloring page about our lock system. We also use some rubber stamps that were of things we would find in Canada to jazz them up a bit. Both kids were pretty happy with the results.
DH is working today but we are all looking forward to going to the firework celebration later :)
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