Thursday, January 27, 2011

Delightful Reading Kit

With Elizabeth, our oldest, I didn't have a specific curriculum to teach her how to read. I bought a blend-and-word book and some easy readers. We sat through a-e-i-o-u. And at-et-it-ot-ut. And an-en-in-on-un. And on.... and on.... I'm sure she was bored to tears. I was. And I didn't see a lot of progress. She eventually could read words. But she never wanted to. That did finally change when Dad bought her an American Girl series when she turned 7. She read the series in two days and has been a voracious reader ever since.

Along comes Jonathan. He would be 5 soon, and I wanted an actual reading program to follow for him. I looked at several. So many out there! I'm sure I could tweak something for him. Hmmmm. I was very much loving Charlotte Mason's philosophy that I had discovered and was now using for homeschooling. She had a lot to say about teaching a child to read. ~It didn't have to be tedious. ~You could teach them using real literature. There were some programs with CM elements, but nothing that followed her method exactly. So I thought I could write something for my son. It became a longer project than intended. I spent an hour or so a day on it, when I could. Before I finished he had turned 5, so I began the part he needed to start with: letter sounds and letter formation (he formed them in the air and in a pan of rice). That's all we did in the area of reading that year.

The reading plans were about finished before Harrison was born. There was enough content and enough people who had also inquired, as I had, about a Charlotte Mason reading program being available, that I thought I'd send it out to some homeschool publishers and see what happened. The whole project had been bathed in prayer throughout. I received 3 answers back (exciting in itself!). Two gentle "no's" and one "interested". Wow! Harrison was soon born, school was on the back burner, and Simply Charlotte Mason and I began to tweak and add to and pretty up the lessons. "Delightful Reading" emerged and I couldn't be more pleased!

Jonathan at age 6 has now been through the poem "Rain" and loves to read it to anyone who will listen. It's a pleasure to teach him how to read and we look forward to moving ahead to learning an Aesop fable next.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Figuring It Out

Well, I posted a facebook note a couple weeks ago in which I asked for encouragement and advice on how to "get it all done" with 4 kids and homeschooling and all the life stuff that needs done. I got Great encouragement and advice; all of which I appreciate! One stellar piece was for me to ask my husband for advice. Sure enough, Phillip and I had a great talk that night and he came up with some amazing solutions for simplifying life. Seriously, if anyone needs some help simplifying (job, life, schedules, etc), Phillip has great ideas on efficiency. He could be a life coach. :-)

I wanted to share my progress over the past couple weeks though. First, the ideas we came up with are:

1. Lunch was moved to one hour later. It's our big meal which I cook, but it was hard to finish much schooling in the morning with lunch bumping into the morning. So now we eat at 12:30.

2. We are using paper plates/bowls and plastic cups. A great time saver when it comes to cleaning up three meals a day!

3. Phillip has taken over supper. I made a list of what the kids can eat each night of the week and he makes it for them. Before I was letting the kids choose their own supper (things like tortillas and cheese/ sandwiches/ etc). They would all choose something different and then a big mess would ensue and I dreaded supper and clean-up. There is one supper option for all kids now. And they eat in the kitchen and clean up their own minimal mess. No fuss, no muss.

4. I let go of one service area at church.

Those ideas have helped tremendously. As well as the encouragement to rethink my life with children right now. My family is my ministry. If I have one moment of breathing room in my week, I think that I should add something to my life. Forbid that I should ever be bored! I must pack every minute of my day, no? Then I add too much, get overwhelmed, and inevitably drop some commitments. I borrowed a book recommended by a preacher's wife: "Good Girls Don't Change the World". This was good in showing me something I've slowly been coming to realize over the years: People pleasers will drain themselves and either erupt or get depressed. And those who chase worth (or God's favor) through "doing enough" will find they can never "do enough" to earn worth or God's grace. Another book ("Managers of their Home") is helping for me to see how other families schedule their day and fit it all in. These are large families, so if they can do it, it can be done! But it's helping me see that I"m naturally good at scheduling, I just need someone (husband) to open my eyes that my life has changed and my schedule needs to adjust (new baby added; schooling more than one child now, etc). Anyway, we have gotten two full weeks of school in over the past two weeks, so I'm breathing easier and am so appreciative of the encouragement!!!!! Thank you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Time to Pick Up the Legos

Harrison is moving around now, so it's time we stop leaving piles of Legos on the floor for Jonathan to play with. And Phoebe's doll with little shoes and clothing. And Elizabeth's books and stickers and markers. Mom's knitting supplies and Phillip's computer.

He sure is cute.

1-11-11 Birthday for Phillip!

So we didn't have the proper candles. Three single candles plus one number "6" makes Phillip 36 years old today!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whatever's on the Camera

Jonathan is working on a 919 piece Republic Cruiser lego kit. The largest he's ever done and he wants to do it HIMSELF.

New Year's Eve we went to the home of some friends for supper, smores around the fire pit, and a game of Star Wars Trivia. I love sitting around a campfire! Very fun.

And Harrison is sitting up better and loves Dad's thrown out Blockbuster Reward Card.