Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rea-Ding- Lessons!

The other day, after lunch I sat by Noel and just started a reading lesson with her without asking if she wanted it. A few minutes later, I tried the same thing with Amy. It worked! After our lessons, I showed the girls some of the things they would be learning as we continued on. They both got so excited to hurry ahead and read read read. Amy did 8 lessons that day - she was the one less interested before. Noel did 5 that day. We decided to keep doing lessons interspersed with Sorry! games. That's what the girls have wanted every day since then. I am so happy about this development.

Today they got to do lessons interspersed with morning routine and chores. We finally just finished the first Sorry game because it took so long to do Joy School, morning routine, chores, walk with Grammy, art time, Mom's nap, etc. with so many reading lessons in between. The girls have made great progress. They're almost a quarter of the way through the reading lesson book.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Normal Day - What A Blessing

After a super busy morning and early afternoon filled with non-kid activities, I came home to two girls very ready to paint. I suggested we have opening prayer and start school with painting. So we did. Noel actually seemed to enjoy telling me what to paint and then watching me do it more than doing her own painting.

Towards the end of painting, we did our opening routine stuff - date and weather, exercise. We decided that for America Moment we'd get our flag out since it's veteran's day. Then we'd stay outside and play since the girls both wanted to. They rode bikes. A neighbor stopped by and chatted with me for a long time.

When I could get everybody back in, we had a little snack and a lesson about why today is a holiday. (Thank you Wikipedia for some facts I didn't know.)

For closing class, we decided to work on preparing our script for the play Amy wants to put on at "Armstrong Days" over Christmas. She wants to do an episode of Alexander's Amazing Adventures, which is a wonderful series of episodes that are fun and interesting (even for me) and teach good values to young kids. We love them. So we transcribed part of the script.

We read a few stories and had our closing prayer.

Good day. I'm especially grateful I had the energy for all that after the hectic morning going from one thing to another.

Now Amy is practicing her reading with Grammy. They try to work on that every day. I told Amy she could still delay her chore if she chose to do that now first. It worked. :) She loves doing it anyway.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Loveliest Kind of Marathon

Today was another couch day in the afternoon. So we had a reading marathon, inserting reading lessons between stories. Then we ended the day with a Sorry! game when I felt a little better. The kids had good attitudes and said it was fun.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cookies and Sorry and Reading

My mom has been wanting to make cookies with the girls for school so today was the day. They worked on it for a long time and made two kinds of cookies. Then we tried to figure out how to fit in as much school as possible before the evening plans. I surveyed everyone's interests for activities and figured out how to help people get as much of what they want as possible.

We agreed to a Sorry! game first of all. Then we split up for reading lessons. Amy is reading with Grammy, and Noel is just finishing practicing writing some sounds at the end of her lesson.

Fun school day and the cookie time gave me some nice quiet study time.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Aunts and Uncles and How School's Going These Days

Wednesday - Grammy taught school, and I went to bed.
America Moment: Map time.
Lessons: Write the date and names of states.
Amy: Books with electronic pen that reads the words.
Noel: Game (I don't know what, but I'll tell you we have played Sorry! SO MANY TIMES lately.)
Reading: They read something, but I don't know what.

Thursday - Grandma Anne School
Grandma Anne was coming so we hung out with her. We had a game of Sorry! After Grandma Anne came, the girls and half the neighborhood climbed into all parts of her truck to play. She wished it was just the girls.

Monday - My aunt and uncle came to visit. The girls and I stayed in the room so as to not be unfriendly and to get to see them. Noel and I did a reading lesson. We read a few stories together. And of course, played Sorry!

Tuesday (today) - Normal school day
That means sometimes people fought against me about participating and sometimes had a good attitude. Eliza was woken up early; I almost started to cry.
All that said, here's what we did.
For America Moment, we looked at pictures in a book of US Presidents and said their names.
I tried to choose reading lesson for lesson time because Amy agreed earlier today that she would continue doing them after all. She refused during school. We settled on drawing lessons.
Amy chose bike riding for her activity. I was cold and sat in the van.
Noel chose playing with the barn and farm animals.
We then took a pause for me to make dinner. I'm still hoping we can have closing routine.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Noel wanted to throw bean bags at the America map again, but Amy declined.

Our lesson today was a reading lesson. Again, Amy declined saying she'd do it later. She was antsy to set up her activity.

Amy picked pirate school. She set up desks for each of us. We colored pirate pictures and learned how to spell Arrrrgh. Then Amy insisted that I make a treasure hunt since I was the teacher. We did pictures for clues. It went well, and they liked having candies in school.

Amy and I had our reading lesson (called it closing class) as Noel set up her activity. She set up treasure hunts for us. All that meant was that she put something somewhere where it doesn't go and had us look for it. But we could hear her looking around, so the things were easy to find.

Amy and I read The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids while Noel hid the items.

Noel wouldn't say the closing prayer cause she didn't want to end school. Now every person is going every which way doing every which thing.

Somewhere in there, the girls decided to dress up in a few things.

Here's the evidence:

Noel had fruit snacks in her treasure. Some of them were clumped together which she thought was so cool.

Amy's Pirate Picture. She sounded out pirate pretty well.

Noel's picture:

Amy and Noel decided to put our coats on with their legs in the arm holes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Salvaged School Day

School today had a rough start. Noel's had a rough day all day. No one wanted to clean up. I was having a hard time with my attitude. Amy only wanted school if we could do what she wanted. We worked some stuff out and ended up having a mostly good time.

I let Amy pick America Moment. She wanted to throw bean bags at the US map and say the names of the states.

She REALLY wanted me to do a Spanish lesson for lesson time. That was fine with me so we did.

Amy chose the president's book that teaches the order of the US presidents for her activity.

Noel chose cars and then afterwards decided it wasn't her activity because she wanted to do something else. That when she lost control and got sent BACK to bed. She's already been there a couple times this afternoon.

In the meantime, Amy and I played Green Eggs and Ham for closing class and read a tall tale about Casey Jones for reading class. Noel joined us again part way through the story. Now they want me to play Sorry! with them. So we continue... :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles

Today we learned more of "We The People" for our America Moment.

Then I got out some Spanish flash cards, just wondering how many words that come up randomly we would know. I'd say we did pretty well.

Next both girls wanted to do puzzles. Grammy did them too. We kept doing them and doing them. Noel and I kind of were on a team, and Amy and Grammy. Amy was CRACKING ME UP with her comments and trying to tell Grammy the rules. I was proud of Noel doing some puzzles by herself. 

Mom and Grammy:

Amy and Grammy:

Mommy and Noel:



Mommy and Noel:

Mommy and Noel:

Here's our chart about what we did today:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bikes and Books - Amy's Favorite

Amy and Noel went with Grammy on a bike ride after lunch for quite a while. It's a lovely day, and they had a great time.

When they got home, Amy had a few things to take care of before school. In the meantime, Noel fell asleep on the couch.

Finally, we had the rest of school. Amy wanted a reading marathon today, and so we did.

That turned out to be it as I now am going to go work on dinner.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Experiment Day

Today Noel went to Joy School and Amy did fun things with Grammy so I didn't worry too much if we didn't do EVERYTHING at school. Amy and Grammy went on a bike ride and asked a man who was flying a little plane how it worked (Amy's idea). Grammy said they had an aerodynamics lesson. Cool. Later they all three played Sorry! The girls are getting better and better at their counting and the one to one relationship between the numbers and the squares on the Sorry board.

We still started with opening routine. We listened to a CD of patriotic songs for our America moment.

Then we set up a tomato experiment. We had a huge harvest of tomatoes this year. A couple weeks ago we got nervous that they were going to freeze so we picked them all. My parents had learned from my grandma that you can wrap green tomatoes in newspaper and they will still ripen. So we did it.

Today we went through all the tomatoes (a diaper box FULL that two weeks ago were all green). We got out the red ones, the mostly red ones, the mostly green ones, and the all the way green ones and sorted them. Then we made hypotheses about where/ how the tomatoes would ripen the best. We left some wrapped in paper, left some out on the counter, put some on a windowsill to get sun, and put some in the fridge. We'll observe as time goes on how our tomatoes are doing. The girls were semi-interested, not very. Noel helped a bit but got distracted. Amy didn't want us to do the experiment at all out of fear that the tomatoes not wrapped in newspaper would go bad.

We read Cinderella and finished school.

The girls are now doing their activities while I rest a little. They're bike riding. Amy can't get enough. :) Grateful for sunshine.

Another Week Sum-Up

I have been writing down what we have done this week but not getting it on the blog.

We practiced the pledge of allegiance.
Amy had a reading lesson.
Amy wanted to ride bikes for her activity. (She and Noel did this while Mom and I were cleaning out the garage. I joined Amy for a little bike riding too.)
Noel was playing in the van and pretended like she was getting ready for a birthday party so that became her activity. It was my birthday. Amy did a karate demonstration and let us listen to a piano recording while we danced and then played with blocks.
We read some picture books and called it good.

We read a book that taught us about US presidents. It has little comics that help you learn the names in order.
Introduce class was about homonyms. Specifically I wanted to teach the girls about a new meaning of the word scale - the kind you play on the piano. Amy especially liked the chromatic scale.
Amy: Green Eggs and Ham game
Noel: Birthday party again. It was Noel's birthday this time.
Reading Time: The Story of Jumping Mouse

I had a couch day so I only did little school activities with each girl. Amy was needing time away from Noel. (What she really needed was a break from friends as she was having overload.)
Amy's School: We continued working on learning US presidents. Amy LOVES that book. Then we played Sorry! twice.
Noel's School: We played Sorry! too. I'm trying to remember if we did anything else. It seems like we did, but I don't remember what.

Today is Thursday. We haven't had school yet today. We're going to start when I'm done with this and when the family room is clean.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Week Sum Up

Monday we dealt with consequences, poop, and then had cousin time so no formal school.

Tuesday we had a Joy School excursion in the morning that we brought all the kids and Grammy to. We called that school and a great one. Fed ducks. Played on play ground. (Amy took great care of Eliza there.) Had hot dogs and smores. A little lesson. Used our senses. Watched for green - the color of the day. Played with friends. So much fun.

Wednesday we went to the fire station for an open house. We met cousins there. My cousin is in town from Houston with her two daughters so we are playing a lot. The fire station taught us some important safety things, and we saw cool demonstrations. The girls got to spray the fire hose except Eliza who was too shy of the fireman. After we got home, we drew pictures and wrote a little bit about what we had seen and done.

Today we had normal school day. Wahoo!
One popular exercise around here lately is "Bonnie Scoot Races." The girls race across the room the same way I used to scoot instead of crawl when I was a baby. I did it today. Harder than it looks 6 months pregnant by the way.
For America moment we learned about slavery and talked about what we didn't like about it. Amy's learned a little about it lately, and I think it was good to talk about. Noel said she thinks everybody should have liberty. I agree, Noel.
Mom Class today turned into a trick. I had the girls practice hypnobirthing relaxation with me. I try to practice it every day to get ready for Benjamin's birth. Amy nearly fell asleep and asked me to turn on some more relaxing music for her when we were done. Noel wanted to listen to a tape with headphones on, so school took a pause.
Amy chose the Green Eggs and Ham game for her activity.
Noel chose trains. 
For closing class, I reminded the girls - especially Amy - that choosing an activity doesn't mean we get to totally boss and control everything about the activity. That was a bit of a problem today.
We read some stories and called it good.

Tomorrow we are planning to go to Cornbelly's with the cousins if the weather permits. That will take over school time.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Grammy School Marathon

Grammy's been teaching school more than I have so I haven't been blogging. Here's a sum-up of some recent days:

Last Tuesday we went to Laurel's house. Grammy and Amy left earlier while Noel was at Joy School so they just had school together. They read Laurel's Bob Books.

Here are her notes from Wednesday's school:
Exercise - the Bonnie scoot (the way I crawled before I could walk) and bean bag balance
America Moment - "We the People" song
Lesson - Manners. Noel and Amy had good manners when it was time to clean up.
Grammy Activity - city, farm, doll house, roads, cars
Amy Activity - world and USA puzzles
Noel Activity - catch

I think Thursday she taught too.

This week:
Monday and Tuesday we were dealing with poop school. Yesterday we fit in a few activities too. Amy's obsessed with listening to Power Tales tapes and reading the books. So we listened together. Grammy wasn't feeling well but woke up to play with the girls and show them how we could make word families with interchangeable first letters with blocks.

Grammy started while I was out on a lunch date with Matt.
Exercise - Bonnie scoot races.
America Moment - "We the People"
Introduce Class - Word Families
Lesson - Amy and Grammy read Peter and Jane while Noel and I worked on shapes on whiteboards. (I came home in time.)
Amy and Noel wanted to color for their activities. I drew a picture and then organized our school shelves. Grammy started some sewing she's been wanting to work on. The girls kept coloring and coloring.
Closing Class - practice session about taking turns getting the door and what to do if a sister runs off when you want to talk to her. We also talked about the school shelf organization and what kids can get by themselves and what they have to ask permission for.
Closing Prayer - Grammy.

Noel and Amy can't get enough of school. We like it too.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Games and Puzzles

Today I introduced the girls to the Pledge of Allegiance for America Moment.

We did a reading lesson; I had the girls read a little to me. I think Noel needs more practice on her numbers before she's really ready to read and sound things out well. So we practiced that. I'd like Amy to have a better idea of the sounds that individual letters and combinations of letters make as well. I'm hoping to work more on that. Mom and Amy don't like waiting around for that; they are learning books so fast.

Amy chose Battledome for her activity.

Noel chose the Green Eggs and Ham game.

For closing activity, the girls did kid level sudokus while we listened to an audiobook for reading class. Amy did the sudokus (4x4s with only one number missing) perfectly. Then she wanted to make her own. She didn't quite get how to make each number only show up once per row, column, and box. But it was a great first time I'd say.

All things considered (we've had a few struggles today) I would say it was a pretty good school day.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"The Kids Are Learning a Lot"

This is the report of school the kids did with Grammy:
Popsicles - clean up before they melt.

America Moment - Learned a little more of the Preamble song.

Clock Lesson - the minute hand tells you o'clock and thirty.

Traced the whole United States.

Amy wanted a lesson on shapes so she drew a spaceship out of shapes.

Reading time - Peter and Jane 2b

This morning we did these activities that were schoolish -
Amy finished writing Peter and Jane 1c.
I fixed up last year's art wall and hung up the world map.
We played Zingo.
We played with the wheat that someone dumped out of a bucket. Cleaned it up. Measured it. Put in the muffin tin, poured it back in the bucket.

Can Grammy just Teach us School Today?

I tried to read to the girls tomorrow instead of real school as I wasn't feeling great. When I fell asleep reading, they opted for asking Grammy to do school. It went much better after that.

We learned a little more of Grammy's song about the preamble to the Constitution, and Noel insisted on a little bean bag throwing at the America map.

For Grammy class, Amy and Grammy practiced writing. Noel, Eliza and I played with Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Told the story, sang the song, played with the puppets of them.

Noel chose coloring for her activity.

After a while, Papa said he was going to go plant some flowers and transplant some radishes to the vegetable garden. I asked if the girls could join him, and they did. After that they just played outside, and we never made it to closing routine.

I am so grateful for Grammy and Papa helping me.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Real School

This post wouldn't let me publish a few days ago. Here it is now.

Our America Moment today was Grammy's idea: throw bean bags at the US map and try to hit states we've learned. Then there was a little bean bag throwing free-for-all and some random juggling practice.

For our lesson today, we did a math lesson. I made a chart of the numbers 1 to 100. I asked the girls if they could see any patterns and then backed up to see if they knew what a pattern was. Amy totally did. She said it was like square, diamond, square, diamond. (I don't know how she knew that.)

When I asked for patterns about the last columns (the multiples of 10), Amy noticed that the top row was the kid numbers, and the second row, in the tens column (the number 20) started the grown up numbers. I realized she meant the ages where you become a grown up.

Then I had Amy count by 10s, pointing to the numbers. She totally could. Noel could fairly well too, although she said one-dy for 10 and five-dy for 50. She mixed up a few but surprised me at how many she knew. Then they were ready to be done. Amy wanted to draw her own patterns, and Noel wanted to practice writing her upper-case E. Now they are asking me to come teach them things like it is real school. (What do they think this is?) Amy said, "Teach us stuff like we're at real school and you're the real teacher and you teach us real things." :)

OK, off I go to teach them REAL stuff.

Amy's activity was to write the names of the states we've learned on the white board, copying from the map. I decided to also practice drawing the outlines of the states. She switched to drawing the state and writing the name in it.

Noel's activity was pretend. We played school. She was the teacher and I the student. The first day she taught me practicing writing capital Es. The next day, we drew pictures of toys. Amy became my mom and would take me to the bus and back. One night she fell asleep at the sewing machine. The next day when I came home from school, she gave me the apron she made me. Then Noel came to our house. It was my birthday party. We had cake and blowing out candles.

We now have a closing class in our closing routine. For closing class we played a new game called Green Eggs and Ham. Amy got it from knocking from Grammy. I won. Then Amy. Then we hung in there til Noel was done.

For our closing routine book we read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

Fun day of REAL school!

Bean Bags, Music Reading, Lots of Whiteboard Play

This morning Grammy and Amy and Noel spent time learning to read and write. It's hard to get them to stop so much fun learning to actually have school. :)

I'm not feeling too well today but am trying to have school anyway. It seems that not feeling too well is a bit of a theme right now.

For our America Moment today we threw bean bags at the map again and talked about the states we hit - just a little. That's a fun one.

My quick note about Introduce Class -
staff - write the word and draw
treble cleff - write the word and draw
lines of the treble cleff

After that, the girls kept out the whiteboards. Amy practiced drawing more states. Then Noel suggested they play school with her as teacher. They were very cute playing. Now they are still playing pretend and also just doing their own things on the whiteboard while I rest. I'll get up again for closing routine.

Amy spent some time listening to a power tale tape and reading along - she's obsessed with those - while Noel and I worked on shapes.

We read a chapter of Sideways Stories from Wayside School.

Noel closed school with her prayer.

Then Amy whined and complained about how boring school was and how she was supposed to be learning and all Grammy and I do is help them play. WHAT on earth was she talking about? I don't really know what she wanted because she was talking to me calmly.

But until then, I thought it was a fun day.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grammy School!

Due to not feeling too well Tuesday and then taking it easy for a few days, my mom has taken over school for this week. Awesome!

Tuesday we had none.

Yesterday my mom and the girls just couldn't stop coming up with activities. We didn't even know how to fit them in to our school framework. (That's really a lovely problem.)

My mom taught them part of a song she made up - putting the preamble of the Constitution to music, taught them where a few of the states are, and hung up our US map. (I wanted to add America Moment to our opening routine this year. So far, that's going well.)

They read some books together, listened to power tales on my mom's new tape player, cut with scissors and swam in the backyard pool. Great school day!

Friday, September 6, 2013

First Week of School

Highlights of the first week of school  included play doh, art,  tea parties every day, and setting up our school for this year. We created this new chart to keep track of what we do each day and to do the date and weather each day. We also had Joy School at our house this week, so I've been pretty tried. One of the days of school we just went shopping for supplies as well. It's fun to have Grammy living with us. It feels like school time (aka fun activities) all the time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Great Fun School Day

Mom Class today was turning Amy's pants into shorts. They had holes in the knees, and Amy has been asking for more shorts because it's spring.

Amy's activity was riding bikes. No surprise there. We had fun. I even rode mine because Eliza was asleep (and still is after like 5 1/2 hours. Whoa.)

Noel chose sprinkler play for her activity. Friends joined us, and Noel bossed them all around about who could do what when. It was fun. She insisted that I wear my swimming suit, not just play in the sprinkler in my clothes.

Intermixed there was some friend time and some lunch time. I'm glad we started early. We have friends coming over soon, and we wanted to be sure we'd be done in time. It was really a fun school day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Back in the Saddle

No school last week. Matt and I had a retreat that we were preparing for and then attending.

Monday we did quick school before a birthday party so no opening or closing routine.

Yesterday I taught Joy School so we had no home school.

Today we were back in business. For Mom Class, we had a reading lesson that only got halfway through before kids were too wiggly.

Noel chose art kit. We drew pictures and painted.

Amy chose "pen and book". There's an electronic pen thing you can use to read these special books. You hover over words, and the pen reads them. Amy therefore also got a lesson in changing batteries. She did the whole thing herself, including unscrewing the plate thing that covers them. Awesome!

This is not related to school, but I just want to mention that Amy taught herself to ride a two wheeled bike yesterday. She just started pedaling instead of using her feet. It was awesome! She was so proud, and so were we. We did very little helping her in the last few weeks. She just built up her confidence. Now it's all she wants to do.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Successful School with Friends!

(For the sake of the daily record, Wednesday was the day we had no school this week. I was weeding for many hours. Yesterday we transplanted berry plants from our neighbors and play battledome for school. Lots of friend time too.)

Today we had Aubrey and Grace over so I could babysit. They joined us for school, and it was a huge success. They were enthusiastic and enjoyed themselves.

For Mom class, I practiced the lesson I'm going to teach when I sub in Sunbeams this Sunday. We talked about the Sabbath Day and acted out the creation and appropriate Sabbath activities. The girls were great and fun at this.

Grace chose Duck, Duck, Goose.

Aubrey chose Dead Man, Dead Man, Come Alive.

Noel chose snack time - fruit snacks.

Amy chose ride bikes which turned into ride bikes/ play with balls/ blow bubbles.

I read a story that only Grace and Noel were interested in.

Then Mike came and got his girls. So much fun.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pretty Much Same School As Yesterday Plus Melissa, Vidalia, and Noel

Mom Class was reading about Grandpa Packer again and the memories people had of him.

Noel and Vidalia were interested in dressing up. Vidalia was mostly wearing Eliza's clothes and Amy's underwear. Noel wanted costumes. Currently Noel is wearing the ducky costume and feet, and Vidalia is wearing the mask sideways and not pulled all the way down on her hair.

Amy chose reading lesson for school.

We read a dumb book for closing routine that was about Easter, only not.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Reading Reading Reading and Grandpa's Almost 100.

Today we read about my Grandpa Packer for Mom Class. It is Grandpa's 100th birthday this Friday, and many of us are going to celebrate by being in the temple together. We read about his funeral (which was 18 years ago.) We also read many nice things people said about him at this time. I liked reading about the many temple workers and patrons he and Grandma hosted in their home and sometimes drove back and forth to the temple. In a remembrance note from my other grandma (my dad's mom), I learned that my uncle and aunt and their seven children lived with my Packer for two months when they were moving to California and that my grandparents would not let them pay. I am grateful for a heritage of generous service and sacrifice.

Amy chose Peter and Jane books for her first activity - we read four of them - and a reading lesson for her other activity. (Can we tell she wants to learn to read?)

Next we're heading outside for weeding class. I hope to get a lot of weeding done this week.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

School with Lincoln

Today we invited me our four-year-old neighbor and friend, Lincoln to kindergarten. He said the opening prayer and participated in our opening routine.

Noel chose Pretty Pretty Princess for her activity. I don't think Lincoln is much into jewelry wearing. He just wanted to be Maleficent. So we had to rework the rules. At one point Lincoln decided he was done and would just go home. (This is not totally uncommon with him.) The girls were devastated. They convinced him to stay, and we decided to have his activity. We went to his house for a game and brought it home. Again, there was some disagreement about rules and what we should do with the game, but we got through. Again, Lincoln wanted to go home. I don't think he's very interested in playing at our house. Outside or his house for him.

Amy was sad (and kind of lost it) because she wanted to show him what we do for our reading lessons. She ended up just needing to go to bed. I convinced Noel to have rest time too and did some chores.

Later Lincoln came over and asked if the girls could play so I let Noel go out of rest time and play. When they left, she insisted that she and I have Mom class and that it be printing and laminating. So we did.

Technically, Amy never did an activity of her choosing. I am wondering if that will still come out tonight, probably a reading lesson.

Interesting day. I was proud of Amy for the effort she made at controlling herself (though it proved difficult) and her ability to communicate calmly with me. She was disappointed that Lincoln chose to leave and that she needed to rest, but she got to a place where she could accept it. Great job, Amy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reading and Weeding

Yesterday and today we had pretty much the same school but in a different order. Yesterdays we started with opening routine and had mom class: reading lesson. It was Amy's first reading lesson from a book, How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. The jury is still out on this book for me. It seems like it will be effective in teaching kids to read, and the girls are way excited both by the lessons and learning to read in general. But it may be too structured for my tests, too requiring. We'll see. I was surprised how into it Noel was. In fact, both girls wanted to choose reading lesson for their activity today.

We have been having nice weather so we are including weeding class in school. Today we started with that because I was outside mowing the lawn already. Yesterdays weeding class just turned into friend time for all of us, and that was it for school.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Strawberries and Babies

Today we planted some strawberries. It needed to be done pretty quickly so we had strawberry class. We had to get some weeds out of the way first, and there were some dandelions in the grass I COULDN'T resist. I hate having dandelions in my yard. The girls had shortish attention spans during that activity and kept getting into the car to play. That was fine.

Eventually we finished and cleaned up and came inside. The girls chose playing babies. I must say that's an annoying game. They make whiney non-word noises, the kind I usually don't let them get away with. We had bottles and burping, baby food (all just miming) and story time. Which turned into 5 stories and was much more agreeable as an activity.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bunk Beds and Study Time

Yesterday morning I taught Joy School on an hour and a half's notice because the mom who was going to teach had sick kids.

In the afternoon I was planning to have home school, but Amy and Noel started playing together nicely downstairs while I studied upstairs, and they just kept doing it. I realized that I could call Joy School school for the day and keep studying and allow my kids some good bonding time together. Win. Win. Win. I loved my afternoon. They stayed happy and kind most of the time. (We'll not talk about the state of the downstairs bathroom; it looks like they had fun. :)

Eventually they came up, and Noel suggested we play bunk beds. That means we get all the couch cushins and pile them on top of each other. Then you play. The girls had recently earned a motivator (a positive consequence) of playing bunk beds with a parent so I jumped on the chance to fulfill that. Besides bouncing, we ended up acting out the story of Horton Hatches an Egg which the kids are really into right now. It was perfect because Joy School right now is all about imagination and creativity, and we act out a lot of stories. This went right along with that.

So today we probably won't have any school as we did four days this week. But who ever knows exactly what will happen.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What to do When You are Bored of Mom Class

For Mom Class today we did a printing lesson. Daddy had a power point book summary he wanted printed double sided. Amy did some and then got bored. I cleaned up the office and finished the printing. Amy wanted to quit, but I didn't. So we did some activities while the printer was working.

Amy's Activities:

Watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movies while waiting for Dad to respond about what to do for Mom Class.

Show and Tell: pictures of polar bears from me and two books for Amy.

Read Maggie and the Pirate,

Play Memory. I won by 5 matches.

Baseball. Amy practiced hitting the ball with the end of the bat. After I told her that doing that would help the ball go farther and faster, she hit it 3 times in a row, and it did go farther and faster. Awesome.

Bunnies in a blanket with Amy in too. She likes to have me pick up the blanket and twirl. She's way too heavy for this activity, so I do it for a very short time.

2 Chapters of Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger.

Read Who Stole My Paint.

That's 7 activities from Amy plus opening and closing routine and mom class. Lucky Amy! It was a fun day.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Jewel

Amy's my jewel. Today we started out with just her. She has been very helpful and in a good mood for school today.

For Mom Class I taught Amy about preserving food. Her job was to brown beef while I cut strawberries and put some chicken in the crock pot. I just went shopping yesterday and wanted to deal with those foods and not let them go bad. Amy did the whole process of browning beef with very little help from me. I taught her about persevering when she complained about it being hard and boring. I was so proud of her. Plus we got dinner ready. Bonus.

Then she chose play outside. We jumped on the trampoline and played on the swing set and jumped on a little pile of snow.

Then Daddy came home for a late lunch. Amy showed him all her new clothes we bought this morning.

We were about to read a story for Amy's next activity when Noel told us that someone was at the door who wanted ice cream. So we took a break to get ice cream for our friends. Then Amy and Eliza each chose a book.

I'm still waiting for Noel to choose an activity if she wants. So school may or may not be over.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Treasure

(I call Noel my Treasure.)

Today I got to have one-on-one time with Noel while the other two slept. It is a rare treat. She played quietly by herself for a while, but then we both wanted to have school.  

For Mom Class, we laminated her new Joy School book she made.

She was telling me I could choose the activity although we had already done mom class. I told her she could choose. I finally gave her some options. She picked coloring pictures of our family. So we did.

Next she chose snack time picnic. Amy and Eliza joined us at that point. Simple and fun day of school.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pop Goes the Weasel

Mom Class was getting ready for a Joy School meeting that is tonight. We're about to start the second to last unit of the year, and this will probably be our last meeting. We finished a Joy School binder, gathered books to use in the unit, and checked that we had all we needed. The girls were fun helpers.

Noel chose playing Jack in the Box for her activity.

I suggested we could go to the library today and pick up a few holds and play a little, maybe get dinner while we are out. Amy said the library was her activity. So we are going to pause school to wait for Eliza to wake up before we can go. I have plenty to do so I'm getting to it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It Seems Like Forever...

since we had a regular school day. Monday I was sick. Amy and Noel pretty much took care of themselves. Yesterday we hosted Free Cone Day. It was AWESOME!

Today we had cousins over at lunch time to enjoy some ice cream they missed out on yesterday. Then the girls took little naps. I got a few things done. We only had a short time for school. So we skipped opening routine and Mom Class.

Amy chose the book, "Did I Ever Tell You how Lucky You are?" for her activity, and Noel got us playing a game with bunnies and pretend play. (The bunnies all sat on the potty.)

Noel chose and Illustrated Book of Mormon stories book for our closing routine, and we're done. Time for making dinner.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Recess IS School

This morning we went with our friends and next door neighbors for a walk/ run/ bike ride to the soccer field and cemetery. Then we packed a lunch and went to the park with them. We had a fun time. After we were done, though it was already a little late in the afternoon, I decided to go to the store since we were already in the car. Eliza and Amy fell asleep on the way home. So now I am finishing up my studies for the day (I've been trying to on and off for a while) and helping Noel write words she's making up. She likes writing but doesn't know what the letters look like. I think she just likes to do the things Amy does.

I was going to have weeding week. It doesn't look like that's happening. Another time it can.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Think Joy School IS School

Amy disagrees.

I teach Joy School this week. I was underprepared (as I often am) when today began so I worked for quite a few hours before kids got here getting ready, including a Walmart run. By the time school was over, I was ready for a little break. I told the kids that should count as school. They bargained for one activity each.

Amy did a few tricks with a ball. That was the whole activity.

Noel chose Pretty Pretty Princess. Amy won. Noel quit early in favor of making a goal chart like Amy. They are working on taking responsibility for their own bathroom usage.

We also hung out with our neighbor who was replacing a few plugs and telling us a little about being an electrition.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Strawberries, Bikes, and Stories

Mom Class today was cutting strawberries to freeze so they wouldn't go bad. Amy learned to carefully use a knife.

Amy chose riding bikes for her first activity, and we had a good time doing that. We've been loving the springtime weather.

Then we read A Fish Out of Water and an entire Spanish comic book (a short one, but still, read the whole thing.)

Noel and Eliza slept through it all.

During school today we had a friend in the ward helping us fix our light socket downstairs. Sometimes we helped a little with that.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thespian School

Yesterday we had my sister, sister-in-law, cousin, and aunt over for a total of 5 fun ladies and 8 fun kids. We had a great time playing most of the day. There was a lot of talk about education philosophy - my favorite subject. (Earliest guest came at 10:00 am, and last left at 10:00pm.) In the late afternoon, all of us except Burns's family went to see Fiddler on the Roof Jr. with complimentary tickets from my neighbor. The kids did mostly well, and the actors were great! We enjoyed ourselves. We called that school for yesterday.

Today we talked about plays for Mom Class. (This is an idea I've had for a while, not intentionally making this week a unit on theatre. Although we did go to a Messiah Sing-a-long (not a play, but still a concert), and Amy, Noel and I are going to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Saturday. So, that's fun.) I showed the girls a copy of Merchant of Venice that I checked out at the library. That was my most recent play to read (listen to.) I showed them how there is a list of characters and taught them about acts and scenes and directors. Amy has been wanting to direct a play from her Alexander's Amazing Adventures CDs for a long time. I wanted to teach her about having a script. So for the rest of Mom Class, we started the script, starting and stopping the CD and transcribing. Who knows if she'll ever do it. I think she's excited about telling everyone where to go and what to do.

Noel chose a puzzle for her activity, and we quickly did that together.

Amy chose a book for her activity. That didn't take long either.

I told the kids we could do one more activity they agreed upon. They chose acting out Caps for Sale. Noel is cute how she tries to say "Fifty cents a cap."

Throughout the school day there were constant snacks. I went to the store and stocked up, mostly on produce, and the kids seemed to be hungrier than usual. :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Another Day at Sleepy School

This morning I made a Joy School binder, and the girls helped so we called that Mom Class.

This afternoon we did our opening routine and Amy's activity. She chose a massively long Spanish lesson. I even had to pause to take a nap. We finished our comic book about Smurfette.

Now she is asking for a reading lesson from a book we borrowed from a friend about teaching children to read. I think we'll check it out.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Colored Popcorn

Amy said:
I love Noel. Without Noel, who would be my prince?
The thing about Eliza, I love her, and she's beautiful. She's so cute and funny.

Mom class was a Spanish lesson. All the smurfs are in love with Smurfette and are fighting.

Weeding class was short and cold.

Amy did an experiment with popcorn, marshmallows and chocolate chips. She mixed them all together. I thought it was gross.

We did school while Noel was at Joy School today so she didn't do an activity, and it's kind of short.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today We Learned about Bad Sportsmanship

Well, I think it came pretty naturally. And I don't know if we learned anything about good sportsmanship. Ah well.

First we tried mom class. We built a fort in the family room a couple of weeks ago, and I was ready for it to be cleaned up. So Mom Class was pick up a blanket, do something silly with it together, fold it up together. Sounded like a good idea to me. The enthusiasm to see it all the way through lasted through one and a half blankets. Then they wouldn't help and started playing their own thing.

I took a little break to decide how to proceed and then told the girls how I felt that they weren't willing to do my activity at school. They came around, and we had fun. There was some creative silliness with the blankets. We swung around kids and bunnies. We twirled and hid under them like they were parachutes. Once Amy decided to lie in the middle on top of a small toy tomato with a toy stroller on her tummy. I then was supposed to wrap her up and pick her up. When I put her down, we looked for where the tomato was. Awesome.

When we finally had most of the blankets cleaned up, Amy decided we should take a little rest under the last one. I read one story with my words starting to blur together, and I was out. After a while I heard the girls saying to each other, "Mom fell asleep. Right in the middle of school." and "I wonder how long she is going to sleep." I smiled to myself but still couldn't quite get up.

I finally woke up ready to play. Amy chose checkers for her activity. We set it up, and I taught the girls how to play. Noel got bored pretty quick and bowed out. When Amy realized that I had a queen (in our house checkers kings would be called queens) and that she may have to get jumped at some point in the game, she had a fit crying about wanting to win. A minute later she pushed away the whole board and ruined the game.

Noel chose Carcassone for her activity. We had a fun time for a while until Noel started taking "Amy's" guys. Amy got mad. Noel didn't give them back. Suddenly Amy threw a bunch of pieces. I told her she couldn't play anymore but that Noel still could. She started to cry again.

Finally after a little snuggle and some persuasion, Amy joined me in cleaning up another game they had messed up earlier. We still have to go clean up the last blanket, the bunnies, and Carcasonne. I must admit, sometimes following through on cleaning up after ourselves can be daunting - especially if I insist on the kids doing it (like I think I often should.)

Maybe sometime soon I will talk to Amy about sportsmanship.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Morning Sickie School

Today we seized the opportunity and had school in the late morning while Eliza was asleep. (She was up too early and CRANKY. Later in the morning she was just too tired.)

As Noel was throwing up this morning and smelled gross, her activity - which we started with - was bath time and pretend play. I was a friendly giant that protected them from sharks and helped them catch fish and kept their boat from falling over and made a shark free zone for them to scuba dive in. I was proud of them for playing slowly - at one point they were the sharks - so as not to splash water out of the tub.

Mom Class was reading a poem from a book of poetry by my Grandma Armstrong. It was a really good little poem. I really want the girls to learn family history.

Amy chose pretend play that was a bit hard to follow for her activity. She mostly just talks about stuff, and I have a hard time paying attention, "Pretend we were... and then... and also we..." And I have no idea if she actually wants me to do anything.

And now the kids are telling me we are NOT done with school. Eliza's still asleep so that works for me. (I just hope sometime we'll stop for lunch. I'm hungry.)

... We finally finished a while later. It's nice to have the afternoon free with school done and dinner in the crock pot. (Of course, now we are doing the chores we didn't do this morning.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Words Words Words

I showed Amy pictures of my grandma named Amy today and then taught her how to do Grandma Amy's favorite puzzles, crossword puzzles. I found an easy book of crosswords with pictures for clues at the forum and gave it to her today. She did well. I helped her spell the words.

Then Amy chose reading marathon for her activity. I don't know if she realizes that I would be happy to do those more often for her activities. It's fun.

Last Week Wrap-up

Tuesday, Amy and Noel went to Joy School in the morning. Amy got to stay which she usually doesn't get to do. So I had a lovely break and did some dishes.

That afternoon all three kids fell asleep. It's so incredible when that happens. I finished cleaning the kitchen and almost finished the Joy School binder I was working on. I had to wake them up (bummer) to take them to a family dinner (fun.)

So no school Tuesday.

I can't for the life of me remember Wednesday. I don't even know if we had school or not.

Thursday morning I woke up realizing a bunch of stuff I wanted to get done and urgently so I cancelled school. I finished the Joy School binder, made phone calls and sent emails, prepared a couple of dinners, folded a bunch of laundry, babysat my neice, and plain old exhausted myself. I had to get ready for the weekend.

Friday and Saturday we spent the days at the Thomas Jefferson Education Forum. The kids were in the childcare center. I went to a seminar Friday and helped in the childcare center Saturday while Matt was a room host in classes. We had a great time (and got a bit overwhelmed at times) and were exhausted when we were done. So we didn't have school per se, but Amy at least got TONS of activities both days. All the kids had fun.

Guest Day

Last week was a little rough on school at our house.

Monday we decided for an exception to have a guest at our school. Our friend, Londyn joined us. We did printing and laminating. Then we played outside for everyone's activities. First we did some weeding. (That didn't go over so well. Londyn worked the hardest but kept asking if we could be done. Amy was flighty, and Noel was concerned her shoes would get dirty. Then we played on the swing set, with the baseball, on the trampoline, and on the baby swing.

Londyn wanted to go home partway through. Noel was sad because she wanted Londyn to come to her activity so she went to ask Londyn to come back.

Amy explains what happened next:
Londyn was jumping on the trampoline, and then she went home, but I got sad. It was boring because Londyn is my best friend, and she leaved.

(Amy's not really remembering the details right. I was hoping to blog about this before a week passed. Londyn was telling Amy to not look at her or follow her, and it hurt Amy's feelings. I was really proud of Amy for coming over then and talking to me about her feelings. She realized she had some choices and that she didn't have to play with Londyn right then if she didn't want to. After school the girls decided to see if they could play with Londyn at her grandma's. I think Amy realized that Londyn still may be mean, but she chose that. I was proud of her for thinking and expressing herself and consciously choosing.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spring Fever

We had a reading marathon today in my bed. I was secretly hoping some kids would fall asleep and that I would be able to too. Noel got tired and ended up in her bed sleeping although she made enough noise, sporadically enough times that the few times I was drifting off, she took care of that. Amy enjoyed the rest time and read. Then she and I decided to get up and have school.

Mom Class was printing and laminating Joy School and primary things. (I am hoping to finish making the Joy School binders I have been working on for two years this summer. Next year I will have room for another favorite mom class. Maybe. I have fun just doing whatever.)

Amy kept thinking of more and more activities. She kept telling me "Now I have 3 in mind. Now I have 5. Now I have 8..." I think she got up to 12.

So we went to the swing set first. After quite a while in the back yard I realized and asked and found out that her activities were all playing outside. I think she has spring fever. We had fun on the swing set, the trampoline, the baby swing, in the cherry tree, in the melting snow, climbing on the fence, playing doctor, almost playing basketball but getting distracted, talking about gardening and spring. After a while we moved to the front yard for baseball and twirling baseball bats on strings, and Eliza wanting a stroller ride, and...

Now we're in for closing routine, and Daddy's home. And Amy REALLY wants to ride bikes. We'll see. :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

The School Day that may not have Happened

Today Amy needed to clean up her room before school because I was frustrated about how messy it was AGAIN. I told her cleaning her room could be school or she could clean it quickly and then have school for school.

Then Noel freaked out and earned consequences of a nap and cleaning her room herself. Instead of her room, I asked Amy to clean some of the kids stuff that had been messed in my room. She did it so efficiently and so well that we were able to have a full school day. Wahoo!

Mom class was doing SODAS. (See for more of that.) Because of some poor choices Amy had made, we discussed choices and their advantages and disadvantages.

For Amy's activities, we had the shortest sword fight ever, snack time of apples and popcorn, and 3 stories.

Now she wants to be done because she wants to copy what I wrote in our SODAS papers. She likes practicing her writing.

I love the feeling of a school day with Amy.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quiet School

After lots of meetings and teaching Joy School this week and trying to keep my house clean for those things, I was pretty tired today. I really gave it my all during Joy School this week to enjoy the unit on "Spontaneous Delight." By the time we were done, I was ready for a rest. So school was pretty tame.

Mom Class was rest time with music. The girls and I snuggled under a blanket.

Amy chose a Spanish lesson. We stayed right there on the futon under the blanket.

NOEL chose memory game. (And Noel typed her name and insisted on holding shift for each letter.

And that's it!

A Long Long School

Yesterday I didn't get to the blogging part of the day so I'll do it now while waiting for the girls to be ready for school.

For Mom Class, I cut out many pictures for the Joy School binder (we had our meeting last night and are in a new unit. I needed the binder ready to give to the next teacher after I taught today.) In the meantime, Amy gathered and helped me prepare the materials for Joy School today. (We had so much fun. The moms joined us, and we celebrated spontaneous delight. All the kids and moms were awesome, and I think everyone had fun.)

Noel chose Parcheesi which we played with some interruptions to color on cardboard (when it wasn't their turn, supposedly.)

Amy chose reading marathon. I think we read 11 books.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Ordinary Perfect School Day

Today was just Amy and me at school; the other two were tired. I like the one-on-one time with Amy. She was very involved today, enjoying the activities but with a short attention span for each one.

For Mom Class I decided to read with her a book in a series that my mom used to teach us how to read. I taught Amy the three names in the book and how to look for the capital letters to give her a clue when there would be a name. She read the names throughout the book and did very well. She seemed to like the activity. We talked about all the things she already has done/ does that help with reading like memorizing, looking at pictures, knowing her letters and some of the letter sounds. She was excited that she's doing some reading.

Then she read me a book called Over in the Meadow, singing and getting many words right and the rhythm and repetition of the book totally right. I don't remember even reading it to her. I was so impressed! She said Aunt Melissa read it to her a few times. Awesome.

Amy chose Spanish lesson for her first activity. She only last 3 pages - short for her.

Next we did puzzles - word searches for her. She probably found 4 or 5 words - that's only a few for her.

Then she let me choose the last activity. We played Crazy 8s twice, each winning once.

Then she was ready for closing routine. We read Dooby Dooby Moo for our book.

It was a pretty perfect school day. Fun, short activities. She was engaged and interested and happy. She sat by me or on my lap a lot. I like that part too. I love these days where she is happy and helpful and relatively calm.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Spontaneous Delight

Today we cleaned the family room AND play room before we could have school. They were quite messy, and I wanted them clean because Joy School is here tomorrow. I took on the play room and had the girls do the family room. So it took a while. Finally we started.

Mom Class was setting up and practicing some activities we will be doing tomorrow for Joy School. The unit is spontaneous delight, and we are doing some fun things like putting gloves on doorknobs and shaking hands with them and climbing in a box to become a Jack-in-the-Box. The activities were a hit.

Amy chose watching videos on the LDS Friend website for her activity.

Noel chose inviting neighbors over for her activity. The activity idea shifted around a bit trying to make it fun for all. We ended up making a tunnel and acting out the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pilates and an Instruction Game

The kids have been earning motivators to reward good behavior lately. They chose the consequences in the envelope. When they do well, they go pick 2 and choose between the 2 which they would like. Recently Amy earned a motivator and picked "Go to Grandma Anne's" (my aunt). When Noel later earned a motivator, I gave her the option to just pick that one as it would be easier to have her do the same one. So today we went there for school. Noel requested stretching, and Amy requested Pilates on Grandma Anne's Pilates machines. So we combined the too and had a great time. Cousins were there playing which makes it more fun. The kids got into a powder that smells like chalk and got it all over everywhere. So much fun.

At home we did mom class. I needed to practice using a video camera for a meeting that will be at our house tomorrow night. I wanted the girls to practice obeying instructions immediately, not really their strongest suit. So we made a game of seeing how many fun, silly instructions they could obey in certain increments of time that we wanted to practice using the camera. Kill 3 birds with 1 stone and have some fun at the same time. Sweet.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Potatoes and Princesses, New Games and Assembly Lines

Mom class today was a fashion show. I have been wanting Noel to try on some clothes to see if they still fit her. (We did try this a while back but didn't get through the whole pile.) So the girls would try something on without me looking. Then I turned on "fashion show music" which Amy said would sound like circus music. The girls marched around the room and posed (aka did a Sam bow after their awesome cousin, Sam, who does funny poses each time he is asked to take a bow.) It sounded fun. The reality is that the girls kept getting distracted, and it took forever between costume changes. They wouldn't put clothes away no matter how many times I asked, and I was getting annoyed and impatient. Ah well.

Amy chose hot potato for her activity. We tried to figure out how to play hot potato with a song or poem or something. Isn't there one? That turned into musical chairs and then me teaching the girls to play a game my dad learned on his mission that involves passing pencils around a circle and singing a Portuguese song. The girls were more interested than I would have thought they would be. It was fun.

Then we moved downstairs and finally cleaned the family room (always prerequisite to having school in there.) I taught the girls what an assembly line was to clean up a pile of books. That worked well.

Noel chose Pretty Pretty Princess for her activity. Amy won. Then Noel.

We finished up reading Danny and the Dinosaur and Library Lion which Noel checked out at her library field trip for Joy School that she had today.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Bit of Random

This morning we had family home (morning) because we thought it would be nicer to do our activity today than last night. We went bowling and to lunch and came home for a lesson.

Then we out Eliza to bed and moved right in to school.

Matt bought us new phones yesterday. (His old work provided one, and his new job (wahoo!) won't so he bought one. He got me one too. After 14 months without a phone, I suddenly have a smart phone. Crazy!

The point is, Mom Class today was choosing a ring tone. We voted on each one. At first Amy liked ALL of them, and Noel most of them. Then Amy started deciding that she hated each one. So did Noel for most. As we finally decided, the girls dissolved into Noel screaming, "I need space," Amy ignoring her, and finally Noel kicking Amy. And then, of course, they were both crying.

So we took a break, a cooling off period. I dinked around with my phone trying to figure it out. (At one point I was trying to voice command feature, trying to call Matt. "Call Matt Parks." Amy responded with, "Mom, phones don't understand" just like I often tell them Eliza doesn't understand. haha.

During our break, Noel has an accident, and Amy started reading on her own. Interest in school seemed to be dying down. I decided to go work on cleaning a bit while I waited. After a while, Amy then Noel joined me. Noel wanted to have an activity suddenly so we began again.

It went something like this. Noel wanted to make a book like she made with Hilary (our neighbor) one time. It required straws. I didn't know what kind of straws. Not the kind for drinking. We also needed string. Then we went to the kitchen. She told me a lot of things I didn't understand, finally mentioning Amy's helmet. We had made a helmet for Amy out of paper mache so I jumped on that clue. Her activity had morphed to paper mache. She had all sorts of ideas about what and how we should do paper mache, very few of which made sense, some of which were funny. I tried to hang in there, listening, repeating what I could figure out. I didn't want to squash her creativity, but I had no idea how to make her perception of reality into reality. She wanted to paper mache a tray and then paint it black. I finally explained that you can't paper mache a tray; you need a balloon, and we don't have a balloon. Finally she decided to get a box and pretend to decorate it with water. Amy brought up a piece of paper and scissors from downstairs and cut it into strips. Noel then suggested tape and began taping the papers in the box.

After a while of this (I was the tape ripper) Eliza wanted a snack. So we paused the activity and had string cheese which turned into string cheese lessons. (I love when the girls do string cheese lessons. Amy helped me make a house, and Noel helped me do some tricks.) Then Eliza wanted story. She got sidetracked, and Amy and Noel listened to the story. Then Amy wanted another story. At that point, I told the kids school was just done and that that story was our closing routine story.

Funny kids. We get so sidetracked. There were some fun and funny parts today. Days like today make me happy we do home school.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Just an Ordinary Day

Before school we had a play date with friends and babysitting cousins followed by more cousins. Vidalia and Amy and THE went outside and did bubbles for a while.

Today we learned a new brain gym exercise - cross crawl sit ups. (Sit ups with elbows touching opposite knees.) We felt it in the abs.

Mom class was printing and laminating and making a joy school binder.

Amy's activity was... word searches. She loves those things and is totally rocking at them.

And I gotta get onto dinner and then tonight... family home evening.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Long Mom Class, Short Everything Else

Today for Mom Class we organized the clothes, putting away those that don't fit, trying on lots, and putting away the tons of clothes that were all over the floor.

Amy's only activity of choice was word searches, and even that wasn't very long. Then she picked a book for closing routine and called it good.

Valentine's Party at Grandma Anne's

Yesterday we met Kara and Christian and Parker at Grandma Anne's house for a Valentine's Day party. We love being there so much! We stayed for 6 hours.

First we had pizza for lunch.

Then we made valentines out of little foam sticky things that Kara brought.

Then we acted out the 3 Billy Goats Gruff over and over. Christian and his grandma have done this together before. It's part story and part obstacle course with a bridge to cross, a mountain to climb, a tunnel to crawl through, a rope to cling to, a river (blue fabric) to swim through, and a ladder on the floor to maneuver through. The kids loved it. The first time Anne popped up to ask who was on her bridge to Noel, Noel freaked. After that she was ready and put her hands on her hips and told the troll she was the mama goat and that that troll was NOT allowed to eat her. It was cute and assertive and a little bossy.

Throughout the afternoon, the girls would go with Christian in the pantry and come out laughing and screaming.

We did pilates on the equipment downstairs.

We made sugar cookies.

We talked about technology and nutrition. (That was the grown-ups.)

We read stories.

We loved it. How good to us is Grandma Anne!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's and Homemade Ice Cream

Yesterday was a family flop. Today's an unofficial kindergarten day - as in we just are doing the activities and skipped opening routine.

Matt's making homemade ice cream today, and the girls are helping.

In between, we are making valentines for friends.

And suddenly the valentine making turned into playing hot and cold finding the valentines.

Noel's valentine making is taking longer than everyone else's because she needs to make 6 - one for each Joy School friend for the Valentine's Day party tomorrow.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reading Marathon and Game Day

Today we had a reading marathon and a game of Monopoly Jr. in the place of normal school because I was low on energy.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cousins in the Middle

Today we started Mom Class - printing and laminating Joy School things to make the next Joy School binder. Then THE and Melissa and Vidalia showed up. Yay! We took a pause from school to play with them.

After they left, Amy wanted to do the word search I made the other day, but she couldn't find it. So she chose listening to a book on CD. She wanted The Hobbit, but I finished that yesterday, and Daddy took it back to the library. Then she wanted Don Quixote which we are also listening to. It wasn't in the car... (where is it right now?) so we opted for Gulliver's Travels which we are also listening to right now. (They aren't always available at the same time at the library so I start a new book even if I'm in the middle of something I had to turn in because of due dates.) So we listened and kept printing Joy School stuff.

Noel chose blocks for her activity. It's still all around.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hodge Podge

Today it was hard to convince Amy to have school because she was doing word searches (she's obsessed, and we think it's awesome that she can do them though she can't read.)

Finally I decided that we could make word searches for Mom Class. She was all aboard for that one. It was fun. She wrote family names and other words she asked me to spell.

For activities, we did a little word search/ puzzle book play, each in our own.

We read a couple books including finishing a graphic novel version of Huck Finn we've been reading.

In between all of that I put Eliza to bed and got her up (she didn't sleep) and prepared a grocery list for Matt. Amy kind of said she wanted to do that with me but then didn't. She was a bit distracted today. I'm glad she settled on some books. Amy always likes books.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

School at Barnes N Noble

Today we had school at Barnes N Noble. It was fun! We:

picked up Daddy's birthday book. (I stopped by before his birthday, but they didn't have it in stock and had to order it.)
looked around a lot
played with legos
looked at wedding books
carried around gift bags
played with pillows shaped like cupcakes
played little pianos on books
identified children's books that we own
played on their little stage
acted like animals
did some ballroom dancing
hide and seek
had intermission
avoided signing up for the kids club thing that just meant a bunch of annoying emails
had a great time

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lots of Hiding

Today was a struggle with attitudes. We got a delay to the start, and I did the minimum number of activities to not totally hurt anyone's feelings and called it quits to avoid further frustration. The kids are playing nicely downstairs, and I'm going to take a little break. :)

Mom class was a Spanish lesson.

Amy tried to choose Trafalga. There was no way I was up to that choice myself with the three kids.

Noel chose a hiding game.

That led to Amy choosing hide-and-seek. They really don't have the idea yet. They hide ALL THE TIME, but they prefer to jump out and say, "Surprise! I was hiding." They often do that before the person even had the chance to know they were hiding.

So that was it. We may go to Trafalga for FHE tonight. We'll see.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Big Change

Mom Class: Print and Laminate Joy School things.

Noel: Hair cut. (Amy got a hair cut earlier in the day, and Noel wanted one too. So we did that at the beginning of school. I got mine trimmed while we were at it. The girls got quite a lot off and have matching bobs. They look cute!

Amy: Pinball computer game.

Then the girls chose picture books to read during our closing routine instead of the usual scripture story.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Costumes and Coloring

We have had a few days off and a few days of changing things up since I last blogged.

Last weekend we were at a seminar so the kids spent Thursday through Saturday at Vidalia's house.

Monday I taught the kids a joy school lesson with Lillie and Sam instead of doing kindergarten that day. We had a great time.

Tuesday we did stretches and games on the yoga mats. Amy made up a game where we run across the mats and throw a block when we get to the futon. If it goes all the way over the futon, we get a point. Suddenly the rules were changing and people were getting hundreds of thousands of points. I don't quite understand her point scale, but no one got upset. So it was all good. Then the kids went outside to play in the snow with Daddy. We never got back to closing routine.

Yesterday was family flop. It seems like at least once a week Amy falls asleep instead of having school. It's dreamy (no pun intended) for me when all three kids sleep in the middle of the day.

Today we are back in the groove.

Mom class was coloring on some big Spiderman coloring pages that Aunt Deborah gave us. Amy kept telling me I was so good at coloring. It was cute.

The girls chose a combination of costumes, instruments, parade and walk for a combined activity. So there we went around the block all decked out. Pretty awesome. Amy was a dog in her Clifford costume. Noel was a ladybug with Chinese pants. I had on a dress with fancy gloves and hat. I was the "bee's" owner. Noel kept calling herself a bee. She said cute things about being an owner who was always nice. There was some puddle jumping, some skipping, some waving to passing cars, and some owner-carrying-the-ladybug. At one point we saw a man who warned us that the dogs at the end of the block were aggressive and had almost gotten shot a few minutes before on the soccer field for growling at someone. That was convincing enough. We turned around and walked home the other way. Back on our street, we saw the man again, this time in his car, following the dogs. They were on our street. By the time we got home, they had mosied over and were in front of our next door neighbor's house. Soon after we came in they were on our porch. I was glad we were safely home.

Now we are cleaning up our big mess. Fun day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rings and Paints

Today the girls were reluctant to have school. I think Amy didn't want to sit still long enough. Plus they didn't want to clean up any of the current messes before starting school and making new messes. Amy freaked out about my idea for mom class - listening to the hobbit which she really enjoys - while folding laundry. We finally got to the bottom of her concerns. She doesn't feel like she's good at folding clothes, and she doesn't like for me to change up mom class so much. She likes especially Spanish lessons and project days. Finally we cleaned up the play room amid much silliness and started school. I suggested that we could work on tying shoes because Amy has a goal to learn how to do that.

After a minor drama involving a lost and then found CTR ring, we did Noel's activity - finger paint.  Aunt Deborah had bought the set for us. It was very fun.

Amy chose snack time. We have leftover birthday cake from Aunt Deborah's and Daddy's little birthday celebrations from the last few days.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Aunt Deborah School

The kids' wonderful Aunt Deborah is in town for a few days and is staying with us. It has been so great having her, and the kids have LOVED playing with her. It helps that she treats them like everything they say and do is adorable and perfect. That in turn helps them make everything they say and do be adorable. A good arrangement.

This morning Deborah let Matt and me go out together. What started as a temple time ended up including a quick trip to the store and stops at a few mechanics. Car trouble. Bummer.

So we stayed away longer than we intended. By the time we got home and ate lunch it was about 2:00. I decided rather than doing school I would just write about what they did at "Aunt Deborah School." That way they can keep playing with her however they want and telling her stuff and showing her everything they can think of.

Apparently they watched little youtubes about washing hands. (The kids both wanted to show us their "new tricks" when we got home. I thought washing hands was a funny new trick since they do it all the time, but they started a new way.)

Amy told Deborah she needed to go on a treasure hunt so they went back and forth hiding and finding a post-it note.

They colored a lot. Deborah brought them coloring books and new crayons and colored pencils for a present, and she hit the nail on the head. Amy's nearly colored every picture and has done a couple word searches in her book already.

Then they watched Strawberry Shortcake and the Tigger Movie.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Grandma Anne School

This afternoon my Aunt Anne came over to hear about the book discussion group I'm starting. The kids felt gypped when the realize Anne came to talk to me instead of playing with them. She is SO FUN to be with, especially for kids. So they just assumed she had come to play with them. They kept asking us when we would be done with our meeting.

So Anne kindly said she'd play with them afterwards. Noel chose battledome to play. It's a fun one, but it includes marbles which Eliza tries to eat. So we don't play long when Eliza's awake. And she woke up almost as soon as we got downstairs.

Then Amy got out the memory game. Noel has been in and out. Anne has been patiently playing. They love her so much. All of the adults in my family feel so blessed we have Anne in our family. I'm the luckiest of all because I live in her same town.

We LOVE Grandma Anne school.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Everyone gets a Turn. Still, Amy Wants to be In Charge

Today we prepared for tomorrow's Joy School day during Mom Class. Amy was interested while the job was getting boxes together for an activity. Noel liked when I practiced the song with actions. Other than that, they just played. Not such an interesting activity for them. Sometimes that's how Mom Class goes. I'm sometimes surprised by what is flies and what flops.

Amy chose the art kit for her activity. She kept telling Noel and me that we had to draw the same pictures the same way she did. We used markers, crayons, scissors, tape and glue. A toy hourglass told us when time was up.

Noel chose "go hiking" after Amy suggested it. Following others' ideas is not always Amy's strongest point. They climbed on the couch and then jumped to the other couch and jumped to the floor which was the water. I skipped out of that activity as Eliza had pinched my ear hard and pulled on it just a little bit before, and now I have a headache. Didn't think jumping would help.

Eliza wanted a book for her activity and then only sat through a few pages while Amy stayed. I guess she didn't love that book. She does like books a lot of the time, but that one didn't seem to interest her.

The girls were sad when I said we were having closing routine, wanting to choose more activities, but they seemed to have moved on. They have both done a few things since we stopped.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Younger Kids' School Today

Amy's been sleeping a lot lately and at strange times. And not sleeping when she should. Like I don't think there's a day in the last 6 or 7 that she slept past 6 am. As a result she falls asleep in the afternoon or early evening and has no trouble sleeping at bed time even if she had a long or late nap or just sleeps on through dinner and the evening clear til morning. When she wakes up super early again.

Today was one of those days. Asleep before we could get to school time.

After a rest, Noel was going strong so we had school without Amy. I sometimes feel sad for Noel because she doesn't get one-on-one as much as Amy. Not guilty. This is just how some things go. But sad for her. She LOVES school but has to sleep through it often and doesn't get full rein ever; Amy's almost always there. So we seized the day and had fun ourselves. Partway through Eliza joined us too.

Noel's shown some interest lately in some pictures she found from my childhood and youth so I got those out for Mom Class. We had fun looking at them. I kept asking her who people were, people she really really knows well. She never knew. She thought all the women were me - my sister and sister-in-law included. Funny.

She chose Twister for her first activity. She asked me a lot about right and left but knew all the colors. We took turns spinning and playing.

As we were trying to clean that up, Eliza got inside. All of a sudden we had twister burritos with both girls wrapped up in the mat. There was a lot of tickling and giggling. Cute.

Then we got down a floor puzzle we have. That was interesting trying to put it together with Eliza around. I went back and forth between helping/ encouraging Noel and entertaining Eliza. When it was time to clean that up, Eliza and Noel walked all over the puzzle to break it up.

Amy just woke up, a little sad she missed school. I'm glad I didn't miss it today.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Early Out Day

Today was a simple quick day. Done with school before 3:00 pm? Unheard of.

We started with a little ballet movie and some costumes. I checked out a Baby Ballet movie from the library last week, and the girls enjoyed watching it on Saturday. That day we didn't get out leotards and tutus, and they really wanted to watch it again, this time dressed appropriately. So we got out the costume box. Couldn't find the leotards. Then the movie didn't work out. Bummer. Amy settled for Clifford the Big Read Dog costume. We all settled for youtube ballet.

Noel got to join us for that activity but really needed a nap today so she went down after that.

Amy and I headed downstairs, had our opening routine, and prepared her Family Home Evening lesson for mom class. Though we read a scripture story together and discussed different things about it, I have NO IDEA what she will be sharing tonight for her lesson. That's ok with me though. She said she's ready.

Amy chose Chutes and Ladders for the next activity. I won so she started me over and we kept playing. When I won again, she was tempted to do that again but then started just goofing off. So we cleaned up the game to move on.

The next activity Amy chose was sword fights. She lent me her blow up shield she got from Christmas and used her blow up sword. I used my paper sword I made months ago at school. She had her back pack for her shield. She won three rounds of sword fights. (She was the judge.)

Now we're going to read our scripture story and be done.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Little Girls Playin in the Water

Today was an awesome day at school.

For Mom Class we made a morning routine chart for Amy. I still have some work to do on it; maybe I'll remember to post a picture when I'm done. The mom class was semi interesting and semi boring for the kids so their attention waxed and waned. At one point, Amy was spotting Eliza and holding her up to reach the light switch. She proudly showed me how Eliza could turn the light on and off and told Eliza, "I'm so proud of you!". It was really cute.

Amy talked at the beginning of school about wanting to see about snow melting so before we started opening routine and mom class, Amy went outside to get some snow in a bucket while I cleared out the sink. Throughout opening routine and mom class we came to check on the snow. Amy's theory was that it would turn to water.

She was convinced that she was right in her theory because the snow really did turn into water ...when she added water.

Suddenly the experiment turned into coloring water with food coloring. After pouring in the colors (which made it a really unappetizing almost black color) Amy said, "Now we're going to make a suit for a boy to wear to church in case we have a boy. The red part will be his tie."

Eliza was as into it as her sister, maybe more so. She kept filling up a bottle, putting the nipple on top, and trying so hard to drink. Then she dumped a bunch on herself.

At one point, the items they put in the bucket were buried treasure.

As much as I wanted to be present and involved in the fun, I also didn't want to miss the funny and great stuff that was happening to record. So when the camera's memory card got full, I quickly got some pictures off. In the meantime, Eliza climbed in the sink, now full of yucky colored water and the bucket with more of the same. She was up past her waste (fully clothed), trying to drink from the bucket or any utensil she could use.

Finally we cleaned up that mess and moved to the bathtub to continue some fun. Here are some of those highlights (none caught on film since naked children were involved):

playing with water whistles Amy got for Christmas. Different amounts of water in them produce different pitches. The girls were playing songs and asking me to guess which songs they were. Amy didn't think I was very good at it. (I'm not.) Sometimes I don't think they have the song picked before I start guessing and just agree to one they feel like agreeing to.)

Sam bows. My three-year-old nephew, Sam is hilarious. Any time you ask him to take a bow, he'll do it, but each bow is unique. He just puts him body in some awesome pose. The only thing you can be sure about is that it will be funny and awesome. So I told the girls to do some Sam bows. They kept popping up in funny different poses, sometimes staying still, sometimes wiggling. We were laughing our heads off.

Eliza opted for climbing in and out of the bath many times and sitting on the potty while she was out.

At one point, wanting to bring myself into the fun, I suggested the girls pretend they were on a boat and that the real water was the rest of the bathroom. They were all over that. When Eliza became a man overboard, they decided to fish her out with the fishing pole that was Amy whistles held together. When she wouldn't grab on, I was called upon to save the day as the friendly helper giant. Then everyone wanted to go overboard and be saved.

I finally requested the girls let me wash them. They decided they were now in the bath tub part of the boat. Amy said that there was a bath tub on the boat and that there was our whole house on the boat. Finally she excitedly declared that it was a house boat.

As we were finishing up washing kids, Eliza decided to dive into the tub, arms and head first. The other girls thought that looked like so much fun that they started too. Unfortunately, the game ended when Amy bonked her shoulder and cried and cried. We got everyone out dressed, and hair combed, and FINALLY went back down to finish Mom Class. (It was interrupted by checking on the snow which evolved to all that other stuff.)

Now it's 6:15 pm.  Matt's home and making dinner. Amy fell asleep on the couch. And I'm finally blogging about what we did.

Like I said, an awesome day.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sometimes the hardest part about blogging about school is coming up with a title for the posts

Today we:

cut up laminated pictures for Joy School as Mom Class

did tricks for Noel's activity - running around and cartwheeling and such

finished watching Anne of Green Gables for Amy's activity. We loved it, but I think I loved it the most.

I have been wanting to figure out how to hold Amy's interest for chapter books that we read together. (It's not so important for her, but it would be fun for me to read the whole book together and have conversations about it. Eventually this is important for Amy, but I'm not worried that she's not doing it yet.) Anyway, I realized that we could just only watch movies at school after we read the books that go with them. (That would help our movies be more likely to be high quality as it has to have a book it's based on and help us read a book all the way through and not watch movies too often for school, all things I like.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fishing, Dancing, Glowing

Amy TYpiNG.

mom: read  Pippi Longstocking and [Mom takes over typing when Amy gets bored]: act it out. We walked on couch cushions (the curb) with one foot and the floor with the other foot, frontwards and backwards. We pretended we had monkeys on our shoulders that took off their hats and bowed. We cracked eggs on our heads and flipped pancakes through the air.

Noel: freeze dance game. Amy and I danced while Noel had the music going. We froze when the music stopped. (I imagine a cousin taught them this game. All of this is happening at our cousins' house today.) Then Noel decided we should look at the glow-in-the-dark wand in the dark bathroom and play with it. We wiggled it all around.

AMY: fishing and scuba diving to clean up Aunt Burnsie's play room. Fun day with lots of pretend and creativity.