On commitment and frustration

I made a hard decision last week. I did not like making said decision, but I know in the long run, it’s the right one.

How do we teach our children to persevere when we are all exhausted? How do we tell them that sometimes, the right thing is to quit?

I was not allowed to quit anything as a child. The only time I did was when my parents weren’t able to financially support the activity any longer. So when I started college and began loading up my plate, I over loaded it and committed. And committed. And committed. As an adult, I’ve continued my habit of over committing and then spending my free time bemoaning these commitments.

Last week, a heart-to-heart with my doctor said I needed to start taking things off my calendar. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had that conversation, but things were scary for me health-wise. So I’ve been working on my own commitments and while I was at it, I took stock in what the kids are doing. In so doing, I realized Liam was over committed.

It broke my heart to realize I had done this to him.  I know mothers are supposed to make mistakes and that I am human, but I was so frustrated with myself for  continuing the you-will-not-quit-mid-semester attitude and forcing him to continue with guitar lessons even though he was clearly burnt out. No one should have to have a fight with their 7 year old over practicing. Nope.

So I sent an email and made a phone call. It was uncomfortable for me. Not because we were ducking out, but because we were ducking out during the school year. And in that moment, as I read a very gracious email from his teacher, I realized that I’m still breaking the patterns of my childhood.

It’s not a bad thing, but I feel like the longer I parent, and homeschool in particular, I’m learning things that I shouldn’t repeat. I know there are loads of parenting books with “answers”, but he’s my child. And no matter how fussy I am about quitting, I should have realized that he was done and drawn the line.

So here we are. Mom learned a lesson. And Liam did too. He needed to learn how to express himself minus the anger and frustration. And when HE is ready to commit again, we will try it. But this time, I won’t set myself up for failure.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on the First Semester

The kids are at co-op right now. I packed them up at 8 am and they headed off, backpacks loaded down with books to return and light lunchboxes for they had the opportunity to order their lunches today for the first time. They are ordering because I didn’t feel like making lunches that will be sent home, yet again. Oh yes, one of the greatest perks of homeschooling has been that I don’t have to pack lunches. With our switch to an all gluten-free house, finding things Liam will eat that can be packed has become increasingly challenging.

I spent my morning organizing their school records. I’m in my third year of homeschooling, but this is my first year with both kids who have school work that needs to be recorded and kept track of. I bought a banker’s box off Amazon that has metal handles and is large enough to have textbooks and papers stored. For the time being, I’ve got it all in one box, but eventually, I’ll have to purchase more. I stood there for a while, admiring my giant binder clipped stacks of worksheets and neatly organized textbooks. I took out the little booklets Liam made last year and flipped through the memories and re-read his journal sheets. Good memories.

So this first semester has passed. Grade cards are completed and I’m planned for the next quarter. I’m pretty pleased with my work. I’m pleased with the kids’ work too. Liam has taken an interest in cursive handwriting and so we started that on Monday. Sylvi feels she should also be working on it so I suppose I will have to get her a book as well.

Today is my first break that included silence in probably two months. Between working from home and homeschooling and teaching Sunday school and life in general, I don’t get much silence. I enjoy silence. It felt indulgent to sit quietly at my table checking records and ordering library books, but my did it get done quickly. So quickly, I may not only complete all my goals, but accomplish a few more tasks.

My goal for this year is to keep better records. Over the years, we have read so many books, but I haven’t recorded them. I always mean to, but I don’t. Last year, I kept track of my own personal reading and I loved seeing my total last weekend. So I set up a goodreads list to keep track of the books we read for the kids this year. I’ll be including the audiobooks as well since both kids are absolutely captivated by listening to them in the car as we travel between classes and errands. I’m excited to see where this lands us in 12 months!

To close, here’s where are sitting with our school progress at this point in the year!

Liam: 

  • Lesson 45 in Saxon 3 for math
  • Lesson 15 in comprehension (we do one a week)
  • Lesson 28 in Volume 1 of Story of the World (Liam has taken charge of this subject and listens to the audio book version all day and even at night. I check in frequently, and give him the chapter tests. At this point in the year, he has only missed one question. I keep track of the additional resources that are included in the teacher’s manual and get extra books from the library to follow along with the lessons.)
  • Phonics and reading are at the halfway point of lessons, but Liam is also reading in the evenings with us so he’s reading more than what the curriculum dictates.
  • English 2 has been a bit of a challenge. Liam is bored by the curriculum, and I plan to make a change next year, but for the time being we continue to work through the lessons. He’s got a good grasp on the parts of speech and grammar, but writing is not his jam. He can tell you anything you’d like to know about a sentence, but to write that sentence? Nope.
  • Handwriting without Tears, introduction to cursive – just begun.
  • Step 21 of 25 in All About Spelling level 2. I’ve stopped a few times throughout the year to do reviews of the spelling rules and words and he has done well. We will continue on to level 3 in a month or so.
  • Astronomy is running out of steam. We will be visiting the Air and Space museum next week and I’m looking into the audiobook version of our textbook to keep his interest. Liam has discovered the science channel and asks to watch it whenever he can.

Sylvia:

  • Handwriting without Tears Kindergarten. She’s almost done with this book and even though she wants to move on to cursive, I plan to continue with the next HWT book on printing.
  • We began Saxon Math 1 this week and she’s just buzzing along. I did the ABeka kindergarten math last semester and while she liked the pictures, it was just too easy. I’m glad to be moving on.
  • We took a break from Phonics for about two months and now she’s back at it, whipping through the lessons. She needed those months to get a better grip on her speech so she could hear the sounds in her own ears before she could apply them to the lessons.
  • She’s on lesson two in All About Reading 1. I took my time introducing this book, waiting on her speech as well. She places a great deal of pressure on herself during the sight word portion of the lessons so I am working on how to address this.
  • We did the requisite kindergarten science book that the Independent Studies program asked us to do, but that only took  few weeks. When your children are raised by a science-crazy, homeschooling mom, it’s hard to follow certain books. Sylvia has been participating in the Astronomy work alongside Liam all year as well.
  • In addition to The Story of the World, Sylvia is completing the required social studies book from the IS program as well. We don’t like it.

Both kids together are listening to Adventures in Odyssey for Bible. We aren’t attending Adventure club on Wednesday nights because of how late it runs, but the kids are enjoying this option. Liam takes Jiu-jitsu 2-3 days a week and has private guitar lessons once a week. Sylvia takes ballet lessons on Tuesdays and a combo ballet/tap class on Saturdays. And they are still working with a counselor who addresses Liam’s obsessive behaviors and anxiety disorder. Sylvia attends most of the sessions and I’ve loved watching her blossom socially as a result.

That’s where we are for school! Now that it’s all written out, I think I know why we are all so tired at the end of the day!

 

Day 13

I must admit that the last three weeks have gone by surprisingly fast. I had no idea that homeschooling two children would be so simply complicated. Yes. Simple and complicated at the same time. I don’t understand it either.

I remember my brother’s kindergarten year. I was in third grade and pretty offended that his work took less than half an hour to complete. I prepared Liam for this possibility. Thus far, he hasn’t been upset about Sylvia doing her work and leaving the table while he plugs along. Let’s take a moment and raise our coffee mugs in gratitude, shall we? She rejoins us when we do science and history and so far, it’s a system that is working very well.

While I type this, Liam is doing his phonics worksheets. He’s also lecturing me about the habits of hummingbirds. We have bird feeders outside the dining room window and often suspend our work to watch the hummingbirds zip back and forth. We may need to add another feeder or two in the spring. I haven’t witnessed any territoriality, but I’d like to keep encouraging their visits as much as possible!

One of the things that surprised me the most about school this year would be how much Liam is enjoying our world history study. We are using the book Story of the World and he is just absorbing every detail. I’ll admit that it makes the class so fun for me because we are currently studying the ancient Egyptians and that was the first historical period I remember studying and thoroughly enjoying.

I think one of the most complicated parts about homeschooling for me is the time. I love my children and spending time with them, but when we are in school mode, I can substitute our school time that we spend working in place of playing. So then life becomes all about work. I’m an all about work sort of person, so this doesn’t bother me, but they are too young (and mentally healthy!) to be like this, so they crave play. It’s probably a sad state of affairs that I have to learn how to play. But, to be fair, I don’t think 80s parents did that so this super-factual and old-souled mom has to be her own example.

We are really focusing on read-alouds and legos and playmobil and dolls. Those I can do. We played in the pool a lot this summer, often with me being the oddball mom doing cannonballs off the diving board or chasing them around the deep end. But the pool is now closed, so I’ve got to be more creative. I’m learning.

So school is simple. Life is complicated. But it’s all good. Really. The kids have their first day of co-op tomorrow and uniforms have been tried on and waistbands adjusted. I’ll pack lunches tonight and we will walk to the school building the morning, taking photos and waving goodbye. And on Monday, we will start it all over again with our math books and stories about the ancient Egyptians in our pjs.

Bitty Ballerina

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On November 3rd, 2010 an ultrasound tech told us we were going to have a little girl. Matt’s brother had died the night before, we were exhausted and emotional and mustering up a response was almost too much for us. As she went through and identified each body part on our little girl, I remember thinking that her legs were nice and long… perfect for ballet.

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Last night, my little one finally got to attend her first ballet lesson. She’s waited for weeks and weeks for this night and I tell you, she was practically bursting with excitement. She was supposed to wear a costume instead of her leo, but I couldn’t talk her out of it. 🙂  Halfway through the class, she took off the costume and happily danced and stretched.

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Her little face was filled with a mixture of concentration and awe as she watched the teachers demonstrate throughout class and I could hardly hold back tears of excitement watching her finally find something she enjoyed so much. As we left she sighed a deep, dreamy sigh and told me how much she loved her dance class. Thursdays are going to be a wonderful day for all of us!

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In the weeks to come, I’m looking forward to lots of twirls and pliés. Mom bonus? Watching every single version of the Nutcracker suite I can find before Christmas. I didn’t realize how long I’ve waited to have a little one in ballet until last night… and I’m so happy to be soaking up every moment!

Sight words and life lessons

Welcome to the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Home Tour

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.

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When we moved into this home 4 years ago, I struggled to make it my home and get over that it was my grandmother’s home my entire life. Initially, I picked darker colors for all the walls… Covering every inch of the stark white paint I could. The hardest room for me to “transform” was the dining room.

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For one thing, it’s in the middle of the house, and filled with the massive dining room suite I couldn’t sell when we held the auction after her death. Dark and formal, it’s never been the style that is practical for our family. And the added worry of little ones opening the glass doors and breaking the china? No thanks.

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As the years have passed, I’ve taken things out of the china cabinets and packed them away. The table no longer has a centerpiece or a table cloth for that matter. And little by little, the table became the place to settle in and draw or paint. So when we decided to homeschool, I knew right where we would set up.

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The cabinets now hold workbooks and books I’ve been collecting in the last year. The drawer that once held fancy silverware now holds my Montessori letters and 100s board. And the table that was only used for holidays now is the table I will always hold dear as the place where Liam learned to read.

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Every morning we settle in at the table and I’m grateful that although I never thought I’d find a way to make this room ours, it fits like a glove. We watch the cardinals out the window and spread our words out on the table. We high five our success, jump out the frustrations and soak in our lessons.

For us, the room that didn’t fit is now the room I look forward to spending more and more time in as the years pass. In that, we all are learning together – sight words and life lessons.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon September 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • Being Barlow Home Tour — Follow along as Jessica at Being Barlow gives you the tour of her family’s home.
  • A Tour Of My Hybrid Rasta Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes you on a tour of her kitchen complete with a Kombucha Corner, a large turtle, her tea stash, and of course, all her must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s most favorite space!
  • Dreaming of a Sisters Room — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, dreams, schemes and pins ideas for when her younger daughter is ready to move out of the family bed and share a room with her older sister.
  • Building a life — Constructing a dream — Survivor at Surviving Mexico-Adventures and Disasters shows you a glimpse inside the home her family built and talks about adaptions they made in constructing their lives in Mexico.
  • Why I’m Sleeping in the Dining Room — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook welcomed a new baby but didn’t have a spare bedroom. She explains how her family rearranged the house to create Lydia’s nursing nest and changing room in spaces they already had.
  • The Gratitude Tour — Inspired by Momastry’s recent “home tour,” That Mama Gretchen is highlighting imperfect snapshots of things she’s thankful for around her home. Don’t plan to pin anything!
  • Our Home in the Forest — Tara from Up the Dempster gives you a peek into life lived off-grid in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
  • natural bedding for kids — Emma at Your Fonder Heart shows you how her family of 3 (soon to be 4) manages to keep their two cotton & wool beds clean and dry (plus a little on the end of cosleeping — for now).
  • I love our home — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings explains how lucky she feels to have the home she does, and why she strives so hard to keep it tidy.
  • Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition — Dionna at Code Name: Mama was tired of her dark, outdated house, so she brightened it up and added some color.
  • Our little outdoor space — Tat at Mum in search invites you to visit her balcony, where her children make friends with wildlife.
  • Our Funky, Bright, Eclectic, Montessori Home — Rachel at Bread and Roses shows you her family’s newly renovated home and how it’s set up with Montessori principles in mind for her 15-month-old to have independence.
  • Beach cottage in progress — Ever tried to turn a 1980s condo into a 1920s beach bungalow? Lauren at Hobo Mama is giving it a try!
  • Conjuring home: intention in renovation — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama explains why she and her husband took on a huge renovation with two little kids and shares the downsides and the ups, too.
  • Learning At Home — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling helps us to re-imagine the ordinary spaces of our homes to ignite natural learning.
  • My Dining Room Table — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves her dining room table — and everything surrounding it!
  • Sight words and life lessons — The room that seemed to fit the least in Laura from Pug in the Kitchen‘s life is now host to her family’s homeschool adventures and a room they couldn’t imagine life without!
  • A Tour of Our Church — Garry at Postilius invites you virtually visit him in the 19th-century, one-room church where he lives with his spouse and two kids.
  • Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the Montessori baby-toddler space she’s created in the main living area of her home along with a variety of resources for creating a Montessori-friendly home.
  • The Old Bailey House — Come peek through the window of The Old Bailey House where Erica at ChildOrganics resides with her little ones.
  • My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shows you her new laminate stairs in her not-so-new-anymore house.
  • To Minimalist and Back Again — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went to the extreme as a minimalist and bounced right back. Read how she finds it difficult to maintain the minimalist lifestyle when upsizing living space.
  • Our Life As Modern-Day Nomads — This family of five lives in 194 square feet of space — with the whole of North America as a back yard. Paige of Our Road Less Traveled guest posts at Natural Parents Network.

Friday field trip

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Today marked the 10th day of homeschool for our little family. We celebrated with a field trip to the nature center. I could hardly wait to get to this day because I had found the cutest little Nature Scavenger Hunt from Simple as That. 

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Joy of joys, Matt only had to work until lunch today (yay holidays!) so we waited until he got home to leave. As we were all lacing on shoes, Vito started jumping around like a puppy, so I asked if he wanted to come along. He gave me pretty much the same look he gives me when I ask if he needs to go outside, so I asked if he wanted to ride in the car and he let out a YIP! like I haven’t heard in forever. So we had an extra student along for the excursion.

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Once we got to the Nature Center, Liam was far too set on his personal goals to really play along with the scavenger hunt. I’m so grateful for a daughter who thinks every little thing I do is phenomenal. She was thrilled to carry a clipboard and pencil, searching high and low, delighting in crossing things off her board. At the very end of the hike, I found some acorns and she squeezed my legs, telling me they were “de best!”

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In the end, we found almost every thing on the hunt except for animal tracks, deer and of all things, squirrels. We did find a lot of poop though. A lot of poop. We listened to the cardinals calling, the insects humming and the dog gasping. I’m planning to take the kids back again as the weather chills for another hike to see what we discover as the seasons change… I’m even hoping to convince them myself it’s a great idea to do a snowy hike!

The first week

We officially made our homeschool decision in June. Once the decision was made, I went to bed and actually slept through the night for the first time in months. We LOVED the school Liam attended for preK and I just couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel settled about sending him to Kindergarten there! {Of course, now… months later… it makes complete sense as Liam’s needs have changed and the sweet people who handle his OT are becoming some of my greatest cheerleaders.}  I cried a little knowing that I wouldn’t have the amazing teachers in his our lives, but the fact of the matter is that we need to do what is best for our family {specifically Liam} and homeschooling is the answer.

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Monday morning, I fed the kids a first-day-of-school pancake breakfast and we headed into the dining room to start school. Because it was day one, every thing was shiny and new and interesting. I had very low expectations for the day for several reasons, but mainly because new routines are hard! Additionally, my parents decided after my 1st grade year that they needed to homeschool me and although I was excited to stay home, I remember being sad when my peers walked by my house on their way to school. I figured the same would be true for Liam, especially since he really thought his beloved Mrs. Lilly would also teach Kindergarten.

Monday was all unicorns and glitter. It was fun and new. Tuesday and Wednesday were challenging. We had to stop a few times and wait for attitudes to clear, but the overall day wasn’t bad. But then. Thursday and Friday Liam blew me away.

I grew up doing math as our first subject of the day, but decided for my own children, we would do reading/writing first. But on Wednesday since Liam was just not cooperating, I asked him what he wanted to do first and he chose math. Shockingly, he completed his pages and then asked to do more. Once math was done, he was cheerful about what was coming next. Thursday, I tried the same routine and again, it was a smooth day. Soooo…. Mom? You were right.

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Friday we ended the week on a high. I think I’ve finally figured out our daily routine and feel like next week we can hit the ground running. I planned a month of schooling out in advance, leaving the details to be determined on a week-to-week basis. Liam will finish the first math workbook I got him Monday and we’ll start the next Tuesday! He needs to refresh his handwriting as over the summer, he’s forgotten how to make lesser used letters and numbers. Sylvi needs to work on her pencil grip.

The upcoming week I’m hoping to keep pretty quiet. In addition to all the newness of school, we had errands that cropped up and derailed our attention or nights where the three of us hardly slept, so I’m really praying that it doesn’t happen again. But you know, just because you plan it, it doesn’t mean it will happen!

Little Readers

Once again enrolled in our town’s summer reading program, we are starting our 4th year of keeping track of our time spent reading. I started to set the timer on my phone while I read and was shocked at how quickly half an hour passes. I had honestly never really made an effort to keep close tabs on our time, but as of this afternoon, we have logged over 5 hours of time reading aloud this week. It’s fun to watch the list of books grow and the hours logged pass. Today was our second visit for this session and already I’m seeing huge changes in the experience from last year.

First of all, it hasn’t been so chaotic. In the car, we have a pep talk about not talking too loudly or running. We go to one of the smallest branches in our area, so if a kid says something in the children’s department too loudly, you can hear it on the other side of the building in reference. So, we talk and talk every. single. time. we. go. Liam is at the point where he rolls his eyes and says “I know, Mama.”

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Second, I’m working my way through all the sections of the picture books. I’m discovering new authors and we looking beyond our core interests: racecars, sharks and princesses. Today, I grabbed books mostly from the “C” and “D” sections of authors. But this one about President Taft made me laugh so hard I almost cried. The kids just thought it was funny he was naked. I can’t wait to see the other side of the book shelves now!

Third, Liam is obsessed with coloring. This morning as he colored his first reading log, I noticed that instead of  scribbling over the picture, like he has for the last 3 years, he took the time to color the details of the pictures. He used multiple colors and stayed in the lines. It was a fun development in our usual process!

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As we drove home, the conversation turned to how Liam is learning to read. I realized that the days of us curling up together to read from our library haul will eventually end. We are reading chapter books together as a family and I’m loving how much comprehension I see the kids possessing. Liam’s interest in learning to read has sparked a desire in Sylvi to learn all those letters and their sounds. It was exciting to realize that this summer is the beginning of a new adventure for us… who knows… maybe by next year, I’ll have a little reader on my couch!

How to be in nature without feeling like you’ve gone wild

I have been loading my babies up and heading into the woods, creek bed or hiking trail for the last 4 years. It was awkward at first what with nursing and diapers and colic, but we did it. In the last few weeks of Sylvi’s pregnancy I took Liam to the nature center and we wandered around happy (him) and huge (me). A month or so later, I loaded my newborn safely into her carrier, strapped her to my chest and we headed back for another hike. Of course, that time I was so awkward and anxious about disaster and it arrived: Liam slipped right into the mucky duck pond and had to be hauled out of the cold, slimy water sobbing. Not our best trip.

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Since then, I’ve started to make sure that instead of just dropping everything and heading to the woods on a whim, I’ve got myself prepared. Ha! Now, we can go out on a hike and I don’t worry about all the things that can (and in our case, frequently do) go wrong. In my kitchen closet lives my old high school back pack loaded with our adventure kit. My back pack was purchased in 1996 and has been to college, grad school, India, Canada, Ecology field work, hospital internships, my first day at the lab, and spent an entire summer on the back of Matt’s bike while he cycled to the office. In my mind, there is no replacement for quality product.

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What’s in the bag? Some of the items might make you laugh, but I’m dead serious about it. Believe me when I tell you that fewer things derail a nice afternoon than wet socks and empty bellies.

  • Backpack
  • Field guide to North American Birds – my kids always want to know what they see and I think it’s about time for me to add a guide to plants and rocks.
  • First aid kit – oh yes. Sylvi managed to bite it today while walking down a brick path at Kingwood Center and cut her knee up even though her pants remained intact. Skillz people, skillZZZZ.
  • Spare socks and underwear – I do not kid.
  • Kids’ journals and colored pencils
  • Weather pod
  • Snacks and water
  • Picnic blanket – I keep this one in the car regardless of where we are going, you never know!
  • Binoculars – My uncle gifted us with a really nice pair for Christmas a few years ago, but I’m not up for dealing with two preschoolers bickering over whose turn it is to hold them, so we have the cute ones from Melissa and Doug just in case.

So when we head out, the time is spent answering dozens of questions and jumping in any available mud puddle. Only once have I made the mistake of not bringing my own boots and I will do ALL I can to not ever let that happen again. 

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Spontaneity is not something I’m gifted with, but boy oh boy I do so much better at it when I have a plan. I know it’s completely ironic, but with a plan for where we are going and snacks that are ready to eat. And band aids. With those things out of the way, I get to answer the questions, experience the feeling of soft moss on my fingers and listen to the creek bed while the new 3 year old is happily munching her snack instead of freaking out.

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We spend a lot of time outside playing and experiencing, but when we do our adventure hikes, I want to make sure we are getting every little bit out of it that the kids want. So if that means I have to haul guidebooks because there’s no wi-fi for miles, then so be it. I mean, gosh, isn’t that what *our* childhood was like? The internet is no replacement for the actual feeling of moss on your finger tips. So we go places that are muddy and mossy and wild. And even though it’s planned and organized and less wild, we get every little bit out of the moment we can.

Mathlete material

With all our free time this week, I wanted to tackle some educational themes so I could get a feel for next fall since we’ve decided to homeschool. I know, gasps!! It’s not like we hadn’t talked about it for years… I believe the first time I brought it up was shortly after I had convinced Matt to go for a homebirth and he was still processing the fact that there would be no hospital staff attending to our needs while our child was still new, so nothing really came of it. We entered Liam in preschool for the year and while we have all loved the experience and he’s grown so much, I just didn’t have peace about sending him on to kinder. Nothing about the school or the teachers or any of those factors, I just realized that we’d be missing out on more of his life and we’d never get that time back. We spent quite a bit of prayer and thought on this and decided homeschool is the best option for our family… right now. And I have to interject that once the decision was made and parental high fives given, I started to sleep through the night again. Ever since, I’ve been so excited about homeschooling I can barely contain myself. 🙂 Bonus: Liam keeps asking when we will only do school at home.

Reading, writing, science and history are easy-peasy lemon squeezy for me. I love these topics and it is so simple for me to slip it in every other moment of our day. But math? Oh man. Liam isn’t as excited about numbers as he is letters so we have to work a little harder on that topic.

Counting is simple enough to work into our daily routine, but we are also working to learn how to add on. Blocks and legos are an excellent way to start up the hands-on learning, but I’m also looking into unifx cubes. My mother had a set when I was growing up and we all loved them.

We started out the week with numbers written out squares of paper and Liam had to place the right number of blocks under it. Initially, Sylvi wanted to join in, but holy wow. Competition was the name of the game in the worst way. We worked through 1-10 and then grouped the blocks together by type within the number.

Up next, we tried this blog post that was filled with ideas for using Legos in learning math. Favorite part? Measuring the creations.

Tomorrow, we plan to use this blog post because I, of course, have addition flash cards. Since I don’t have the unifix cubes, we’ll just use legos.

One of the things we do love to do together is graphing and looking for patterns. Blocks, Legos, matchbox cars… you name it and you’ve got options. AND it’s fun!

For the fall, I’m still up in the air on the math workbooks to use. I really am. For one, I grew up using Saxton math. I love the review aspect of the books afforded in each lesson, but I hate how long that makes the lesson. My mother was never one to deviate from the “plan” so that means if I spent over two hours on math completing alllllllll the problems, then so be it. A friend suggested the Life of Fred books, so those are on my radar now. The only thing I’m really sure of are the Kumon books I’ve used so far and love. And that over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the flexibility of life and make adaptations so that my kids and my family get the opportunity to really flourish because their individual needs are acknowledged and nurtured.