Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday September 30, 2014

Choosing Day: Noel

Dropped Eliza and Noel off at Joy School. (The teacher said Noel could stay and be a helper.) Quick stop at library to drop books off/ pick up a hold. It was a Magic Tree House Book. Amy is finished with it.

Skipped opening routine today.

Class: State Page - Connecticut (my choice). We got way distracted learning about Yankees and Yankee Doodle. Did you know it's the state song for Connecticut?

Picked up Joy School Kids

Activity: Play with tone bells.

Reading: Magic Tree House #4 (Pirates Past Noon)

Family Work: Living room and hallway


Reading/ Writing/ Drawing: Girls were into their sparks today. Noel wanted to learn a lot about Fancy Nancy. Did you know there's a musical of it? She colored a coloring page of it and was read a story online. Amy got interested in Robin (as in, Batman's sidekick.) (Did you know robin is the state bird of Connecticut? That's why she learned about Robin. We looked up images of robins when doing our state pages.) I was still interested in learning a little more about Yankee Doodle and Yankees. When Wikipedia mentioned A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Mark Twain), I thought that sounded intriguing too. It mixes a few things we've become a little interested in - yankees and King Arthur.

I also updated my personal prayer list. My mom updated me on her investigators who are on my prayer list. I still have a tab open on my computer to read about "A House Divided" - Abraham Lincoln's speech.

Much better day than yesterday. I've been trying to ease up on myself about what time we start school - not stress about when it is. I think I've taken that farther than I want. Today I felt like we didn't have near as much reading/ writing class time as we wanted. (It's 3:41, and I'm not done. :)) I want to start school earlier. The routine and rituals for this year are definitely still being worked through.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday September 29, 2014

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

Today was hard but not the hardest. We almost canceled home school once and took a few breaks to cope. The girls caught on that I was upset and finally got themselves to clean up so we could get started. I feel naggy and like it is pushing my buttons any time someone argues or doesn't obey (which seems to be happening a lot.) It seems a shift in my thinking and some fun positive time together is in order. This is when it's hardest to want to spend fun time together. My impulse is to want kids to go away.

Still, I am proud of myself for how well I have done and of the kids for how well they have done. And I'm glad school's over for today. I'm glad these days are more rare than they used to be and that I am coping better with school than I used to.

When talking to Matt about doubts and concerns, he reminded me that I felt inspired about how to do our school and that I am staying in tune for more ideas. That's why I've been happy with the school. So doubts are not the messages to listen to. That helped a lot.

So what we did pull off:

Choosing Day: Me

Opening Prayer: Noel

Move Your Body Class: Baby yoga with Benjamin and dolls and animals. (This turned out to be my favorite part of the day.)

The rest of opening routine was meh.

Class: Told the girls about pedigree charts. We want to make one. I want to learn which ancestors were the ones to accept the gospel on each line. Then we'll learn their stories and act them out.

Activity: Make sparks books. The girls' excitement for this is awesome too. This was an idea I heard on the Not Back to School Summit. I've heard of the ideas of sparks before (http://home-school-coach.com/). Mary Ann's talk I heard last week suggested helping kids 8-12ish take responsibility for their own education in part by keeping a sparks notebook where they write down things they want to learn about. Then the mom can help them learn about it or they can learn on their own. We started making ours. Turns out, the girls wanted me to color theirs the way I did mine. I didn't want to do that all day so I told them I'd do it during general conference this weekend.

Reading Class: Little Britches - less than 2 pages before I was too tired of kids interrupting and playing their own games.

Family Work: I was skeptical we could pull this off - especially me - with attitudes and feelings intact. The kids did better than I thought so that helped. We folded a load of laundry, and I taught them a little more of how to do that. (Not the kids' strongest chore.)


Reading/ Writing/ Drawing: Amy fell asleep. She has a stomach ache. Other girls are off playing. That's nice for me anyway. I wrote a letter to my parents. I did my study when I was up feeding and comforting Benjamin at 4 am today. So I think I'll just move on to some other tasks. Plenty to do.

I have hope that days like this will be less and less, that relationships will thrive and continue to grow stronger, that I will gain more self-discipline and capacity in my patience and parenting and ability to allow others to make their choices instead of trying to control them. I am grateful for hope.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday September 25, 2014

Choosing Day: Noel

Opening Prayer: Eliza

Move Your Body: Swing and Slide

Water Class.

Stand and Share: I shared a little bit about what I have been learning about in the Home Education Council of America Not Back to School Summit.

Memorize Class: We watched a little video that taught us Psalm 107:1 to the tune of B-I-N-G-O.

The Pledge of Allegiance.

Rainbow Class: We read a picture book that taught a bunch of cool things. It suggested a couple pneumonic devices to teach the order of the colors. The girls drew rainbows. We tried to make rainbows on a CD, with a bowl by the window, and outside with the sprinkler. Then we came in the house and "asked the computer" why it didn't work. We found out the sun was too high in the sky so the angle wasn't right to create a rainbow. Maybe we'll try at sunset tonight. Cool stuff.

Major fight/ discussion. After 3 people (including me) behaved poorly we discussed what we did that wasn't helping our family and what we can do to help our family. We talked about a House Divided which I read about in scripture study and then looked up Abraham Lincoln's speech this morning. We talked about what would happen if we cut our house and how it would fall. Then we all talked about the things we chose that cut up our family. Then we moved to what would help us glue it back together - repentance and forgiveness, apologies and hugs. The girls have been talking about glue ever since while doing things that glue us.

Activity: Recess.

Family Reading (outside): Homer Price and The Giving Tree. I'm changing it up a little and letting the choosing day girl choose a little because Noel was really not liking Little Britches. It's still one of the options, just not the only option.

Lunch: Picnic. Amy was the cute waitress.
(We skipped family work because we were hungry. Then after lunch Benjamin wanted to nurse and the girls started reading. So we still haven't gotten to family work. I'm hoping I can rally the troupes to do it next.

Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class: Amy finished The Magic Finger. I read from Resolved. We discussed a false principle that I found in there. Amy and I didn't agree with it. She and I wrote in her notebook about Magic Tree House. She read 5 MTH books yesterday. I would say she was sucked in. Noel and Eliza drew pictures a bit and stapled and cut out and hole punched papers. Now there are all those little paper punch things on the floor. (Cleaning the school room is also still to come.) Neither girl wanted an interview, but I got a few answers from Eliza about Joy School.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday September 24, 2014

Yesterday was another Joy School day at our house so we didn't have any school afterwards.

This morning I decided it was time for another library day. We had talked about learning about rainbows, and I wanted to check out some books about them. I also wanted to get another book for our ancient history/ mythology class. (Theseus and the Minotaur was such a great hit.) Plus we had an overdue book and a Magic Tree House book to pick up that was on hold.

We spent the morning getting ready - sorting through our 54 books already checked out and finding quite a few to turn in. We decided to shoot for getting there for Laptime and Storytime. We made it. After story time we read a few books together and played a little and then went to get a few more books.

We also got the first book in the Fairy Realm series to read together. I'm hoping it will be interesting for Noel - my child least likely to be interested in chapter books being read aloud. She still likes books well enough; I just want to make it a little more fun for her. Amy's not hard to please. :)

We got some more things to listen to in the car as well.

By the time we got home it was lunch time.

Reading and writing class found Noel playing with calendars and reading to herself, Eliza about the same. Amy read a whole Magic Tree House book and is almost finished with a second one, all in a less-than-two-hour reading class time. We read one chapter of the Fairy Realm book.

I did my Constitution study and worked on my vocabulary list. (I rotate through 4 different books that I study during reading and writing class, one each day of the week in theory. I am making a vocabulary list from the words I circled and wrote in definitions for as I have been reading Jesus the Christ. There are plenty.)

Closing Prayer: Amy

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday September 22, 2014

Choosing Day: Eliza

Opening Prayer: Mom

Move Your Body: Eliza led us in an awesome routine.

Water Class.

Stand and Share:Noel - We made cookies yesterday, and I want one right now.
Eliza - I can sing I am a Child of God by my own self. (But she wouldn't do it; she just told us she could.)

Memorize Class: Watch video of a silly song of the books of the Old Testament. I'm just looking around for what we may want for Memorize Class as Noel was really not liking it.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Class: The Value of Truth and Trust - a Value Tale book about Cochise

Activity: Walk/ ride to the park and play. Friends showed up too.

Missed family reading and family work in our playing.


Reading/ Writing Class: Noel had a reading lesson. Noel and Eliza drew pictures. I read Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Amy had some cleaning up that she ended up needing to do, and she ended up missing class and lying in bed. I read from All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience by Neal A. Maxwell and worked on my vocabulary list from books I haven't known as I have read Jesus the Christ.

Closing Prayer: Noel 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday September 18, 2014

Choosing Day: Amy

Pre-School Class (Meaning the class that happened before school "started", before some of us even ate breakfast or got dressed. That happens sometimes.) Let's Play Music homework.

Opening Prayer: Eliza

Move Your Body: A little baseball.

Water Class.

Stand and Share: Another cute thing about Eliza is that she kind of sheepishly and shyly grins and runs to a couch after standing and sharing. It's darling. Today she talked about feeding her pretend Benjo and how he wasn't crying.

Memorize Class: Recite Amy's tithing poem. She quizzed me and cheered me on really cute. Noel's totally uninterested in memorize class.

Pledge of Allegiance: Only Eliza was interested again.

Class: Prepare assignments for Joy School. Noel has a secret one (I want Eliza to be surprised about it.) I realized it would work better to work on it after school. I asked Amy if she would be willing to read a story at school. She was willing, and I asked her to practice. She read well, even pretty quick. She did skip a few words and her intonation was on the boring end for 3 year old listeners. Eliza ran off early on in the story. I really wasn't sure what to assign to Amy instead so I told her I'd figure it out later and let her know.
Class part 2 was the revealing of a bunch of books I got yesterday at a book store when I went for a girls' night out with my friend, Anne. We had such a great time and got tons of books. I included a knocking for each of my girls. They were pretty excited.

Activity was more baseball/ recess. I stayed inside to get Benjamin to bed for the first while. Then, when I got outside we were hiding from and killing dragons.

Little Britches: Amy forgot to listen because she was reading another book. (I was tempted to interrupt her and ask her to book the book down but didn't because of recently reading this. On a side note, Matt and I also really enjoyed this article.) I wondered if just maybe Amy could read a book and listen to another book at the same time. Turns out, nope. She was in the zone with the book she was reading and totally missed Little Britches. She asked me to start the chapter over. Noel said she would like the book more if she could understand the words. I asked if she wanted me to stop a lot to tell her what was happening. Yes. I declined reading any more today because it was already 12:40, and I wanted to have time for our favorite class without skipping the others. We'll pick up on the same chapter next week but this time with more explanation.

Family Work: Eliza's room and the hallway. We just did Eliza's room yesterday and it wasn't bad at all. I usually would not let that fly - same room two days in a row - but I wanted to move on to lunch.

Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class: Amy and I did our usually writing in her notebook. Today I wanted to do interviews - I want to make them Thursdays at the end of the day to make plans for the upcoming week. Today's topic was if anyone wants to change things about how we do our school. Now that we are three weeks in, I was ready to consider ideas. Amy had none. She likes everything. Wouldn't change anything. Awesome. She has a good attitude for the most part too.

Noel wanted to change nearly everything. I wondered what I may be learning about their personalities from this stark contrast. It is true that Noel has shown her dissatisfaction with certain aspects of school although her overall school opinion seems high. Still, she was bringing up stuff I never heard of. She may be one who likes to change things up a lot. Who knows.

Eliza said she likes reading and writing class and other silly things. She mostly just wanted to write names or some such. :)

We also read a couple picture books together. Amy and Noel have been asking for some individual time with me the last couple days. I thought that they would like to each get to choose something to read together. Amy has been saying she likes to sit by me and snuggle when we write in her notebook. Something good is happening there. :)

I haven't made it to my study stuff yet, and the girls have long since run off to play. It's good.

Closing Prayer: Noel

I have been praying for small ideas to help me make progress towards a few goals. They are mostly related to the ideas Matt and I had for what our kids and our family need this year. Many are unrelated to academics. Today I had the idea to look Noel in the eye when she's talking to me. We are trying to encourage expression from her, and I think that will help me really listen to her and show her respect. I also praised her like crazy for expressing herself really well one time today when she was upset.


Last night at the bookstore, Anne and I talked and talked, a lot about school stuff. I shared some ideas with her and some things we are doing and that I believe. Being in the bookstore got me excited and hopeful. I often feel that way when I think about the years and years of learning ahead of our family and what it's going to do for each of us to prepare us for life and personal life mission and teach us to be happy and make strong our relationships. I get excited specifically thinking about all the cool things I'll get to learn that I wouldn't if we weren't homeschooling. It's times like that that I doubt that I'll ever put the kids in school. (I don't ever think that I necessarily will, just that I always could if we decided that was what would be right for us. Seems like the chance are remote at this point, but who knows.)

Amy just came into the living room and got her school supplies, announcing that they were going to go have school. :) I guess the about 5 hours of school for today was insufficient for their appetite.

Wednesday September 17, 2014

Choosing Day: Eliza

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: However you want to move to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang music.

Water Class.

Stand and Share: Eliza always says awesome stuff about joy school or home school.

Memorize Class: A poem about tithing Amy got at primary.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Class: State Page - Kentucky (chosen by Noel)


Little Britches

Family Work: Eliza's room.

Reading/ Writing/ Drawing class did not hold a lot of interest yesterday. Amy and I still did some writing. Noel and Eliza were totally off in la-la land. I finally decided to start making a poster that I want to use to track what books we read. They thought that was cool but still didn't really stay around for it. That's fine. I still have that to finish. And my Kentucky page. Everyone was faster than me on that yesterday so we just moved on.

We never even got to the closing prayer part. That's all fine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday September 16, 2014

I know I said I wasn't going to blog today, but we ended up having a great joy school day followed by some school. We just couldn't resist. :)

Joy School ended up being just Eliza and Quincy. It was so easy and fun. Our joy school days are shorter this year, so I cut out a few activities and recruited help from Amy and Noel. We still had a full (but not rushed or stressed) and super fun joy school day. And Amy and Noel were awesome at helping. At one point I actually had nothing to do.

After school the Joy School stuff that was left out suddenly turned the kitchen table into craft table. We did lunch and crafts and then morphed into reading/ writing/ drawing class. Now Noel and Eliza are playing adorable pretend play (the living room is a train). Amy is reading a very large pile of library books. Who knows when she'll stop. Love it.

A brief home school success/ testimonial about the power of free reading and writing to learn the fundamentals of reading and writing:

I just read something Amy had written to my parents. When she realized her word wouldn't all fit on one line, she hyphenated it, and finished the word on the next line. When I pointed it out to her and asked her how she knew to do it - I hadn't taught her - she said she has seen it done like that tons of times in books. Awesome.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday September 15, 2014

Choosing Day: Mom

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: Dance to Music - a kiwi Christmas CD

Stand and Share: The girls passed. I recited a scripture.

Memorize Class: Same.

Pledge of Allegiance - Eliza did it today.

Class: Learn a song and prepare assignments for Joy School for tomorrow. (We won't be having home school tomorrow due to it being Joy School day at our house.)

We skipped activity due to a feeling of urgency and unsureness about the size of job of family work.

Family Work: Clean up toy room from a leaky pipe and lots of water. This is still in progress, but I got a pretty good assessment of the damage and situation. Plus we have a cooler catching the water. The most precious thing lost to this point was some bean bags. I practiced a lot of gratitude as I cleaned it up for so much abundance and for things not damaged. Also, I am glad and grateful we cleaned the toy room before this happened. Many more things would have been damaged, and much more work would have been necessary if that hadn't been done.

Lunch and Break Time

Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class. I started the girls going before I joined them, wanting to get the dishwasher going again. I am trying to get the house cleaned for Joy School and deal with the water in addition to normal work. I am also working hard on staying calm.

Finally I joined them. Amy and I wrote back and forth in her notebook about the pipe. The girls have been reading the Book of Mormon. I think Amy's example inspired Noel. So cool. I missed scripture study this morning due to sleeping in so that's what I have been working on once I joined the kids. We closed a little early, but I am wanting to keep studying a little more. Then back to work.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday September 11, 2014

Choosing Day: Noel

Opening Prayer: Noel

Move Your Body: Dance video from youtube.

Stand and Share: Eliza - "I really want to play with friends because that's my favorite thing to do and I really want to after school. Done."
I shared that I listened to a talk yesterday that talked about how kids who fight and have attitude problems needed more family work. (Interesting because family work brings that out in my kids. Still, I agree and believe in that. I think family work blesses families a ton and that we will continued to learn lessons about how to do that well and to reap the benefits.)

Memorize Class: Nations of the World. This time we watched with the lyrics. That helped a ton. We're doing that from now on.

Pledge of Allegiance

Class: Art
Amy (As we were setting up for Art Class): I like home school! It's the best!
That's what I like to hear.

Noel just told me her painting is the shape of a pelelagram. She was saying parallelogram! I taught her that word a couple of weeks ago and haven't mentioned it since. I am so impressed!

pacipic - Noel's version of specific

I let the girls do whatever art thing they wanted while I nursed and looked up ideas for a simple art lesson. Noel and Eliza painted with watercolors. Amy made an awesome picture of a candy factory for Grammy and Papa. I found an idea to make a caterpillar. We watched a video of the Very Hungry Caterpillar then made it. It involved painting pieces of egg carton. We only have 6 colors of acrylic paint - red, yellow, blue, brown, black, and white. So we discussed primary and secondary colors and mixed to make the secondary colors. The whole activity was a hit. Amy had asked in her interview Sunday if we could have an art class. I was glad we obliged.

Noel was thinking about doing her music class homework for activity but changed her mind in favor of making puppets. We printed off cartoonish facial features and hands and feet and glued them onto paper sacks. Huge mess and funny creations ensued. Eliza was most interested in cutting up the papers into little pieces.

When a couple of us were done (not Eliza), I read Little Britches. The popularity of that book is growing. Noel seems to be coming around from thinking it's boring to liking it. Today we read a part where the main character, Ralph, is scolded by his dad for lying and for the impact of that choice on his character. He compares tearing down your character to pulling down part of your house and burning it when you are cold. After doing that too many times, there is nothing left. We discussed character and how you can build it or weaken it. I particularly wanted them to understand that Ralph's conclusion that his character was forever and irreparably damaged was in accurate.

Family Work today was tons better than yesterday. Still some prodding. Noel and Eliza cleaned up puppets. Amy and I worked mostly on toy room. Got the family room back to clean. It seemed like it took forever today, but we stuck with it and got it done.


Reading and Writing Class: Eliza started playing pretend immediately and distracted Noel. I am not sure what to do about this situation. I think it's great for them to play pretend. Especially I don't think Eliza needs to sit still for 1 1/2 to 3 hours reading and writing and drawing like the rest of us could do. Still, I want the other girls to participate or at least feel enticed to do so and not just have a free-for-all. Today I just let them play. I think usually I will tell Noel she needs to stay in the same room and be quiet so all who want to can participate. (I'm not saying silence; we interact during this class and have a good time.) I think Noel likes it, and she likes playing with Eliza so both sound good to her.

Closing Prayer: Eliza

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday September 10, 2014

Choosing Day: Mom

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: Echo rhythms.

Water Class.

Stand and Share: Shanigans. Everyone wanted to share a ton and fight. Amy earned a consequence.

Memorize Class: Same as usual.

Pledge of Allegiance: I did by myself. Attitudes were iffy at this point.

Class: Picture book bio of Beatrix Potter. Amy sate at most of class and read the Book of Mormon instead. She finally got curious and came over. It was interesting. The girls learned what a governess is (which made them want to watch Sound of Music. Who doesn't want to watch Sound of Music?) They also decided to get down all of our Beatrix Potter books and see if we have them all. (We don't, but we have a lot of them.)

Activity: Mental Blox. I won this cool game at the homeschool conference from a drawing. It has brightly colored different shaped blocks. You can build structures. They have cards with suggestions. The kids played with them however they wanted while I took care of Benjamin and bathroom break. They wanted to use the card suggestions to copy. They could copy just fine. What was harder to understand and do was follow the suggestions on the card that added to the pictured structures. It's really a bit advanced for them. But just playing and using their imaginations isn't. I like them to just get to do whatever they want with things like this.

Family Reading: Little Britches

Break/ Free Play Time. I struggled with some anxiety all morning, and by this point didn't feel up to dealing with work.

Family Work: (I listened to something yesterday that differentiated between chores and family work in how it is done and how it is perceived. I love the idea of it and am going to start calling this family work now.) All that said, attitudes were struggling today, mine especially. Even after the break I wasn't up to much. I kept working but felt annoyed by shenanigans and the mess. We were trying to clean the toy room which was quite messy. I finally snapped when a box was dropped on Benjamin's head (no big injury but still.) I took another break to calm down. When I came back, the mess was bigger (expected.) We decided we'll finish tomorrow.


Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class: I tried to change the name to literacy class, but Amy doesn't like the idea. Amy and I wrote back and forth about books. I wrote Matt stuff on chat to help me with my mental health. I brainstormed limiting beliefs I want to replace. I read a Conference talk and part of Teach the Children. Noel colored a skeleton. Amy read Horton Hears a Who and a book about the Stupids (which we call the Sillies.) Amy traced Mental Blox and made structures out of the pictures she drew. Very cool.

Lots of struggles today with attitude and mood. It's a success when we keep trying to make things work and when we make things work under more difficult circumstances. Today was the first day that was somewhat difficult for this school year (sixth day, pretty cool to have 5 wonderful ones). I am learning a lot about how to handle things and getting good feedback about this year. I am so grateful I can homeschool.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday September 9, 2014

Choosing Day: Amy

I took Eliza to Joy School before home school today. We were off to a slow start.

Prayer: Noel

Move Your Body: 3 turns each of Hide and Seek

Water Class.

Stand and Share.

Memorize Class: Nations of the World.

Pledge of Allegiance

(I list all of that for my reference. I'm still learning the routine.)

Class: Read Theseus and the Minotaur (picture book from the library. Yesterday I looked over a list I had that suggested books from long ago including some mythology. As I looked over the list, this is the book that stood out to me to check out.) This is a mix of History Class and Literature Class. On the suggestion of the authors of The Well Trained Mind, I want to focus this year on ancient history. This was our first day of this class, and it was a big success. Noel and Amy were both very interested. We even had some good discussion about it afterwards.

Activity: Youtube of Theseus and the Minotaur. That's how much Amy liked the story. Then we discussed how the book and movie were similar and different and why we liked the story and how the characters were.

Get Eliza from Joy School. Quincy came back with us too.

Reading Time: Little Britches

Chore: Wash window, dust, wash walls and floorboards in living room. I cleaned it up too. I would have vacuumed, but Benjamin was asleep. So I added that to my personal chore time which is after school. It is no longer clean as we decided to have Reading and Writing class in the living room.

Lunch: Amy wanted peanut butter/ banana/ raisin sandwiches. They were pretty good.

Reading and Writing Class (I want to rename it Literacy class, but the name has not yet stuck.):
Amy wanted to write back and forth with me asking questions. We talked more about Theseus. I attempted to ask the 5 types of questions and draw out more discussion. Her thinking wasn't very deep, but her perseverance in the activity was impressive. She got board but wanted to finish the second page of writing. I did ask her 4 of the types of questions. She had some good answers. I found the exercise a huge success. Noel wanted me to read her Fancy Nancy books. Afterwards we wrote a few of the fancy words in her notebook. (I want this activity to be a precursor to spelling/ vocabulary words.) She and Eliza colored in their notebook. Everyone wanted me to read them lots of books. I read some.

I studied Resolved. I think I am rotating through what I study between Teach the Children, The Promises of the Constitution, and Resolved. I may add another. I checked out Wuthering Heights yesterday but intend to read that in bed at night. I like free reading at that time, and I've been wanting to read that book for a long time.

For my writing class I worked on my Personal Prayer Roll. I'm making a list of things I want to pray for guidance and help with on a semi-ongoing basis. I include what effort I am willing to make in addition to my hope for blessings and inspiration. Then I will pray for one step at a time and the next action on the different areas.

Closing Prayer: Eliza

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday September 8, 2014

Choosing Day: Eliza

Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: However you want

Stand and Share: Eliza and Noel shared about Benjamin.

Pledge of Allegiance

Memorize Class: Video wasn't working. We skipped.

Today for class and activity we had library time. That was preceded by a couple quick errands - Barnes N Noble and Target. I got my new glasses at Target, and I am so grateful for them.

At the library, I let each kid pick their age times two number of books. In interviews yesterday and at Barnes n Noble today they told me what books/ authors/ subjects they wanted to get this time. It took us a good while (plus saying hi to friends, paying fines, changing diaper, potty break, and nursing), but we got our 34 books (I got some too) and headed out. Impulsively we stopped at the playground for a short recess. The kids were all for it and then got back in the car well.

I almost couldn't get their attention for lunch, but we finally ate. They were antsy for reading and writing class - time to enjoy their library finds. We had a lovely nearly hour and a half of quiet reading. Eliza and Noel have been off for a while doing their own thing. Amy's still reading away.

I wrote to my parents, read introductory material on the Promises of the Constitution which I would like to study, and am now blogging. Plus helping the kids - read to Noel, read a book to Eliza that she may or may not use in her FHE lesson, traced Eliza's foot. It would have been way more if the kids had gotten their way. They all wanted me to read to them and help them draw.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday September 4, 2014

Choosing Day: Amy

Prayer: Eliza

Move Your Body: Quick game of tag outside.

Stand and Share got a little ridiculous as Noel wanted to go get something and get it ready. I explained that it wasn't like that. Just stand and share something. I shared a little from my scripture study this morning about how Jesus fulfilled his mission when others tried to get him not to (not understanding his mission.) I said people in their lives may not understand or like or agree with the things they feel they need to do, their missions. But if God wants them to do something, they can do it anyway, no matter what people say. Just like Jesus did. They listened, and we felt the Spirit. I'm glad.

We forgot to say the Pledge of Allegiance today. That wasn't on the blog, but it's part of our opening routine. I'm still getting used to our routine and need a cheat sheet.

Memorize Class: Watch yakko. Transcribe nations.

Class: Read Beatrix Potter Story called Appley Dappley's Nursery Rhymes. Act it out. That was not going over so well. Then we decided to all be the little old lady that lives in a shoe and her kids. Somehow the shoe needed to look like a fort.

Activity: Battledome

Reading: Little Britches

Chore: Clean Benjamin's room. Amy was smart. She picked the cleanest room. We did it in 3 1/2 minutes.

Lunch. It was only 11, but the girls wanted to eat. I usually take a little break during or right around lunch. The girls wanted a picnic. I stayed inside with Benjamin and did a little puzzle on the computer for my break. The girls played outside. We were so ahead of schedule, and I think recess is important (and may be added to our schedule) for them.

Reading and Writing Class: So far Noel's coloring. Amy read a few picture books. Eliza colored with marker in a coloring book then colored all over her face. (Very normal.) Amy wants to play hero, and the fort is still up so it's not quite the pretty picture it was the other day. It feels a little chaotic in here. We press on.

A couple hours later: So it doesn't make sense for me to blog at the beginning of reading and writing class when there is still more ahead. It may become the last part. Noel ended up reading me a bunch of Bob Books. Amy wanted me to read her some of Illustrated Stories from the Book of Mormon. In an effort to encourage Amy to write, I wrote a question in her notebook for her to answer. I asked, "What do you want a friend to be like?" She answered: thme to shur. Them to share. Good one, Amy. I wrote to Noel, "Will you draw a house?" She obliged. Stairs and tons of windows.

In my pondering about how things are going, I am wondering about this class. It is marvelous; we really did have a good time. It's way too long for Eliza's interest and need for reading and writing time. I don't want to just "dismiss" kids one at a time though because then kids will think of this as the boring have to and as playing as the reward. They may start asking if they read/ wrote enough. (In keeping with food analogy, Did I eat enough for dessert? I hate that question.) So how to keep them all here but give them the freedom they need. Not sure. I'll keep working on that in the days to come.

I pulled off a little study myself. Started a new book, Teach the Children by Neil J. Flinders. I read the praise for the book and the forward. I found three words to look up, 1 thing to note, and a principle to mark. Also, I got very excited. That is the sign of a great book!

Yesterday Wednesday September 3, 2014

Choosing Day Girl: Eliza

Opening Prayer: Mom

Move Your Body: Eliza led us in some tricks. They were awesome.

Memorize Class: Watch the youtube. Listen again. Try to transcribe as many nations as we could.

Class: State Page. We have a different rotation for choosing what state we make a page for from last year that doesn't coincide with choosing days. So Amy got to pick. She picked Oregon.

Activity: Tricks.

Chore: Garage. Amy did awesome. Noel and Eliza had to go potty. Eliza had an accident. Noel was waiting for her to clean it up. I was in there with Eliza half the time helping her and keeping her company so she wouldn't be scared. So Amy did a ton of the work. We finally all helped.

During lunch my cousin, Kara called and invited us to go kayaking. So I decided that "reading and writing class" would be listen to an audiobook in the car on the way. And we had kayak class. Lots of fun.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to School!!!

I know most people have already posted about back to school, but we just started today. I say I like to have school from Amy's birthday to Noel's birthday and then take a break til we get through Amy's birthday again. Amy's birthday was Sunday and yesterday Labor Day. So today we are back. We have been excited.

I spent most of August praying and thinking and planning what to do this year. So I've adjusted the routine a bit. I told the girls and myself that we would have two weeks of trying out this routine before we adjust. That way we can get a real idea of what is working well and what isn't.

My impression of today is that it went well and that it could be better. There was some novel excitement and pleasure in some of the activities and some boredom/ noncompliance with other parts. Noel did the best. Amy had some attitude. Eliza started Joy School in the middle of the home school time.

Here's the first day sum up:

We got started about 8:30 with everyone done with their morning routine. That's pretty good for us I'd say. :)

Opening Routine
Prayer - Noel
Move Your Body - (The choosing day girl gets to choose if we exercise or dance or what. (We rotate choosing days at our house to decrease fighting. It's been awesome.)) - Noel led us in half a Sun Salutation.
Water Class - We all get a drink of water.
Stand and Share - Everyone who wants (always starting with Noel who we most want to encourage to express herself) stands up and shares whatever she wants. Announcement, recitation, something she's feeling, something silly, spiritual impressions. Can be whatever anyone wants.
Memorize Class - Today we brainstormed things we'd want to memorize. I think we're going to learn the countries of the world (via Yakko.)

I get to choose. Sometimes kids can help choose. I hope to include this in my prayer a little each morning before we start school so that we can choose well. I have lots of ideas and a few resources. And we'll go from there. (Today we organized school supplies, marking each item with a color of the person whose it is. We decided on two colors for each of us and bought school supplies accordingly. It was a big job to get it all organized, and mine still isn't done. The girls mostly liked this.

I plan to let the choosing day person choose activity most days. Today, we had a Joy School Meeting right after Joy School. So the kids got to play with friends for activity. That's an exception, not the norm. Normally we'll do an activity all together.

This one's mine. We read together a chapter book of my choosing. Maybe I'll let the choosing day person pick a picture book too if they want. Today we started Little Britches. Amy assumed it would be boring and then didn't want me to stop when I was done. When I asked a couple questions about what I had read, she totally knew. :)

As you can imagine, this was the "class" that went over least well at school today. I decided we'd let the choosing day person choose what room to clean and we'd all work together to clean up one whole room. Today Noel picked clean the van. We got most of the way through (after some prodding) and then people were all too tired.

Pretty self-explanatory. I also get a little break during this time to do a little puzzle on the computer (my entertainment of choice) .

Reading and Writing
I told the girls while they ate about this class. As soon as they clean up their lunch dishes they can go downstairs to the bean bag chairs with a pile including at least one thing to read and at least one thing to write with/ on or draw. As I ate I realized I was totally excited about this class. It had a different feeling about it than others. The girls seemed excited too. That's what we are doing now. Most days my writing will be blogging about what we did although I hope it's not all I have time for. I'm also excited to use this time for a little of my own study. That said, the girls are allowed to get one-on-one during this class. We can read together, they can dictate to me so I can write, and we can work on their individual educational/ fun goals that they need help with. That's the plan.

Overall, I'd say today went pretty well. Matt and I have talked a lot about how to make our school agency-based rather than coercive. I decided to design it like we do food. I offer nutritious and delicious (fun and enriching) things to do. Their requirement is to come and to not distract from others. For many of the activities, they do not have to participate. I do hope that there will be enough fun and interest that most will participate most of the time, but I know some things won't be appealing.The exception is clean up and the group chore. Everyone is instructed to do that.

It did seem like I gave a lot of instructions a lot of times today. So if that continues, I may change things up. That makes things less pleasant for all. In the past I have been a bit wishy washy I think about whether or not they should participate. (I believe in Inspire, not Require as a school principle. That led me to second guess myself and doubt a lot when kids didn't want to participate. Or I'd try to manipulate them without forcing them. I'm a work in progress. :) ) I hope the girls get used to what is expected of them (and not complain or have a bad attitude), and I hope they enjoy much of what we do.

My prayer this morning was that I feel normal. That means for me normal ups and downs in emotions but free from anxiety, particularly the debilitating kind that makes it very difficult to carry on with planned activities. That happened. I am so grateful! I don't feel totally zapped (although I think I would be if I didn't take the break.) I think ending the day with reading and writing will be awesome.

Yay School!