Thursday, January 24, 2008
Ok, so we are eating a breakfast of scrambled eggs. Flannery picks up a large chunk and say, 'Hey, Mom, look at this. I can swallow this whole without chewing it first!'. I tell her not to do it as she could choke. But no sooner than I say that she pops it in her mouth and swallows. "See, she says, I did it." Ugh! Didn't she just lose a tooth last week because she didn't listen to me. Ugh! So Moira chimes in and says, "Mom, you should tell her about the flap in your throat." I'm racking my mind to figure out what she is talking about. She says, ' You know, like at the doctors." Oh, yeah, now it's coming back to me. Moira and I were at the doctors this past Monday (she had her eardrum rupture as well!) and I was giving her a little lesson on anatomy. There was a poster in the room with pictures of your sinuses, inside of the ear, and your throat. I explained to her the workings of swallowing at breathing.
So I go on to explain this all to Flannery, without the aid of a poster. I thought I explained it pretty well. I even thought, hey, there's science for the day :-) So I start eating again, and within the next minute my mind is off to other things that need to be done that day. It has been a very long week, and we still have a few more days left with lots of things on our calender. But I did notice that Flannery wasn't eating....just kind of staring. Then she says that she has been having a hard time breathing. Ok, nothing new with that as she, Moira and I have all been having a hard time with our allergies. Between drinking too much milk, and having our dogs inside it was a 'given'. So I say, "That's because of your allergies." I mean that sounds pretty straight forward to me. But she says it again....I tell her again it is her allergies and if it is bothering her that I can give her some allergy meds. I can tell it is bothering her, not physically, but mentally she is tormented about something. So she holds her chest and with tears in her eyes says she is having a hard time breathing and that it is concerning her. She literally used those words. Ok, at that I start laughing. I know I am a bad Mommy! But I was not making any connection to this conversation and the one that just took place a few minutes ago. I'm just thinking, ok, this has got to be GOOD! So I ask her what she thinks is wrong with her. She starts sobbing, saying, "I don't want to die! I don't want to die!" ok, now I am laughing so hard I am crying! Bad Mommy, bad mommy! I really could not help it! I'm thinking, WHAT on earth is she thinking! So I managed to blurt out, "You are not going to die, why do you think you are dying?!" And she sobs...."Because I swallowed the egg!!!" Ok, I almost fell out of my chair! I hug her and tell her that she must not have understood what I was saying. Choking is immediate, you would KNOW when you are choking because you can't breathe at ALL! She was thinking that this is something that could take time, and it could happen at any moment now that she swallowed the 'too big piece of egg'. I gave her some allergy med for good measure to make her feel better.
I have to say every single time I think about this exchange I break out laughing to the point of crying! I felt so bad for her, that she was really and truly freaked out. At the same time it was just so completely funny how I thought I was crystal clear and she totally misinterpreted what I said! Ok, it's really time for me to go to bed. I just had to make sure that this didn't get put aside until I forgot!
Phonics Pathways: This is what I use to teach the kids how to read. It is very simple and easy, and does not require any prep time at all! There are only so many hours in the day/week, and spending hours planning out lessons is not one way that I can use that time. The simpler the better.
Spell to Read and Write: This is the next step up once they are reading. I use the phonics cards with the young reader to gain the understanding that there are more ways to spell a sound. Then as they get more proficient I switch over to this program. I think it really helps them to think through spelling. I really wish I had this growing up. I am learning a lot of it now, but old spelling habits are hard to break.
Saxon Math: We have been very pleased with this program. I like how they introduce the concepts. The funny thing is that in the first few years with Isabella I would do ALL the lesson with her. It literally took 45 minutes just to teach math each day with just her! Now I just go straight to the main part of the lesson and the worksheet. No, my kids may not turn out to be geniuses in math, but they'll be able to balance their budgets and make their way in the world :-)
Spelling Workout: We just picked this up this year. The program we are using for spelling is great, but there isn't a lot of practice with it and I found that they needed more. They are really enjoying the short, fun lessons. It really takes the drudgery out of spelling.
Easy Grammar: Just as the name implies....easy, easy, easy. Ok, I confess, I hate grammar, I am sure none of you have noticed as I am sooooo eloquent in my writings! This is literally one page a day, one small concept at a time, precept upon precept. I am learning things right along with them. They start them off with learning the prepositions as your subject and verb are not likely to be found there. That makes identifying everything else much easier. There is another program that has high acclaim, but it is teacher intensive. Again, I just don't have the time to take hours planning for a weeks worth of grammar lessons. And in case you may think our kids are getting short changed since I keep saying I don't have the time for these lesson plans I assure you they are not. We spent a lot of time finding these programs to work with our family dynamics. Now they might not be geniuses, but they'll have the tools they need to learn what is important.
Sonlight: Our new history and language arts (science is still on hold). I am really excited about this program! This incorporates a lot of real books on the subjects of history and geography. I hated learning history as a list of dates. I'll be looking for a large box coming to my door in the next week or two. I am sure once the girls see ALL the books (I think Jerry said there was 60 of them!) they are going to go goo-goo gaa-gaa! We are getting the intro to world history, years one and two, all rolled into one year. We will have Isabella and Moira using it together. It was unclear as how to proceed with the language arts as Isabella is ahead of Moira. However the readers for the language arts coincide with the history. We'll just have to play it by ear and see how each of them is able to handle the program.
Although we do not have a formal science curriculum, the girls love reading up on animals and how the body works. They have been most recently interested in fetal development :-) They also watch some science videos from time to time. Hopefully next year we will be able to get into it more formally.
Aside from these we also have a handwriting book, Math-it (to help with learning those wicked math facts), French Learnables (we use on and off), and various flash cards and what-nots.
We are using a couple of things for their spiritual training as well (the most important education they need in our opinion):
Polished Cornerstones: We just bought this this year and I am really excited about using it. It is HUGE! It is also for all ages. Each topic has a multitude of "lessons", readings, activities and such for each age. I really need to make sure to make this one of our first "subjects" for the day. I have slipped into getting all the "school" stuff done first, leaving the spiritual things for last. Which we usually don't get around to. But somehow if I use it first we are able to get all the schooling done. Hmmmm, go figure.
Instructions in Righteousness: This is great if you want some specific Bible verses for a particular situation (lying, arguing, sharing...)
Our 24 Family Ways ( this must be a newer version as we have a cross between the coloring book and actual devotional book)
And of course the MOST important instructional and educational guide in our house is the Bible. But I know most of you have seen one of those :-)
OK, that was a lot of stuff. But that is what we use daily around here to educate the children. I need to get us all ready for our Bible study tonight. I made our yummy, yummy meat loaf. No, really, it's really, really yummy :-)
Oh, and please check out the girls' blogs. Isabella has been itching to see if there have been any comments....hint, hint :-)
On other fronts we had Flannery reach a mile stone.....her first missing tooth. Although we do believe it was a bit premature. This is a good lesson for children to learn that they need to listen to their parents! You see when we see that the girls start getting out of hand when they pretend to be animals we will tell them it is time to stop and take a break. Sometimes that break is just for an hour, sometimes it's for days. They were on the "days" break when I needed to leave the room to go grab Jedidiah. In that moment Flannery and Saoirse decided to play horsey, with "bridle" and all. So Saoirse puts a shoe string type string in Flannery's mouth......I of course do not know this is going on and I hear "Mooommmmmyyyyy....is my tooth in half?" Um...WHAT? Flannery comes up to me and I look in her mouth to see that she has a VERY loose front bottom tooth. Now it took me a few seconds to process this. After all she is almost six, it is time to lose those teeth....but wow it was really lose! So I tell her no, it's not in half, just loose. She wasn't sure if that was good or bad. I told her that it was good as it was time to start getting big girl teeth in. BUT then she goes on to say that she had told Saoirse not to pull the string out her mouth. I'm thinking, what string? She goes on to explain that they were playing horsey.....and well..... So she proceeds to go on and on and on and cry and wail about how much it was hurting. So I tell her, that it would hurt if it was loosened too soon. I gave her some Motrin, and told her she would have to wait till it kicked in. She would not leave that tooth alone, she kept touching it and trying to put it back in place. This would have been very funny if she wasn't freaking out so much about it all! So finally after 30 minutes of this I tell her she needed to go in another room. I couldn't stand for her to keep freaking out, all because it would hurt more for her to touch it, but she wouldn't stop touching it! She comes back in about a minute all happy and waving her new lost tooth in her hand! YEAH!! We were BOTH very relieved to say the least. So she has her first lost tooth. I do hope her next one will be coming out on it's OWN time.
We continue to battle illnesses. I am getting very, very, ummmmm VERY tired of us all being sick! Someone here has been sick literally for the last 7 weeks! NO JOKE. I think it is time for some serious revamping of our diet. We really haven't been eating poorly, but clearly we are not eating healthy either. Granted your diet will not prevent you from being sick all the time, but it can and should make a big difference. Healthy foods cost more. However the amount of money we have spent on doctors visits and meds has been astronomical. It would have been far more prudent and enjoyable to have spent it on healthy foods and have been healthy than to have spent it on being sick! I think I will start small, like adding a veggie/fruit juice (fresh) each morning. Then make a raw lunch. I believe our breakfasts have been good, although I need to get in the habit of soaking our grains overnight, which have more health benefits. I'll save the revamping of dinners for another month :-)
OK, one last thing as I need to go and get some breakfast made, lest I have a mutiny on my hands....This past school year we had pared down to the bare basics. With all that was going on with Jedidiah it wasn't possible to add a bunch of extras. Now things are starting to relax a bit and we have been looking into other things like history, science and language arts. We have found a great program that includes all of that in one. They use "living books", as apposed to a text book to teach these things. We are really excited about it, and will be ordering it today sometime I believe. As a matter of fact I think I will make a separate post with all the links to the things we use in our homeschooling. Then you all can see what we do all day :-) Yeah, eating bon bons is not one of them :-)
I'll write later about the homeschool stuff and post some pictures. I know I have some cute ones somewhere.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
We have started back to school after a much needed and prolonged break. The break was a bit longer than planned as the kids were so sick for so long. It is nice to be getting back to more structure. I am looking forward to working with our routine to focus on a few weak areas. I plan on really working with the girls on their chores, getting them to be more independent. And I need to stream line our schooling approach. I've at least come up with a plan, now I just need to put it into action. Which is easier said than done of course.
On the side I have picked up on some "lost" crocheting projects. I have decided I will not start anything new until the things I have are done. I only have to clip some strings off of one project for it to be complete. Then I am finishing up this log cabin blanket that Flannery decided to claim. It was going to be a baby size, but I bought more yarn to make more "logs" so that it will be a big kid size. Then I have a bit more left on the bath mat I was working on ages ago, which is a knitted item. Than after all that I plan to start a new project, making this little wee babe a blanket. I am planning on making it blue. The girls asked what will I do if the baby is a girl, and I said that I would give it away to someone who was having a boy (there are about 5 other women at our church expecting all around the same time). As a matter of fact I may just make a blue one and a pink one and give the one we won't need to someone else. As I am sure I will not have time to whip up a baby blanket post partum.
Ok, now for the pics. I hear Jedidiah waking so I am not putting these in any order what so ever:
So you get the impression that Isabella liked this gift? Ha, ha! She was thrilled to get a book about horses.
Here's the gang (minus Saoirse) on New Year's eve. We woke the girls up 15 minutes before the ball dropped. Without a tv, we watched it live online. They were thrilled to be able to celebrate. Here they are with their sparkling grape juice. Jerry and Isabella enjoyed to ritual pan banging on the porch, which Jedidiah did not appreciate! Although we actually skipped the coin shaking this year! Yikes :-)
And this was where Saoirse was during our toasting celebration. She stayed awake for about two minutes! Oh well, we didn't really intend for her to wake as it was, but she heard her sisters getting up and had to get up with them.
This is Jedidiah's first reaction upon seeing his Christmas gift, a green John-Deere tractor. We had gotten a few library books that happened to be about tractors and he fell in love with them. He was ecstatic!
Here is Saoirse with her new sweater. All the girls have been wearing their new sweaters all the time. They are so soft! As a matter of fact Saoirse actually slept with her sweater the first night. Too funny.
Here's another angle of our Christmas Eve dinner. The aloe plants were a gift from the wonderful family we hosted a few weeks ago. I have to say they have come in handy as Saoirse had burned her hand (not seriously) and I was able to put some aloe on it and the pain went right away!