Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Snapshots of Life

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  1.  Alex is all swaddled up, pacied up and ready to sleep!
  2.  I woke up Wednesday morning to all three girls sitting on the bench together, eating their cereal.
  3. Sarah decided to put on her own shoe ... over her jammies!
  4. Our backyard this week ...  for a few days we lived on a lake!
  5. Josiah woke up early on his first day of summer vacation to play video games.
  6. Sarah trying out Alex's walker.  
  7. We laid a mulch "patio" this week so we had a place to put our outside table and chairs. 
(I missed a row of numbers)
      -    Alex's first time in his walker!
      -    Alex & me!
      -    Alex all bundled up to hang out around the fire! 

      8.   Hanging out with family around the firepit at my sister's house.
      9.   My 3 nephews had a birthday party.  This is Zeke opening his presents.  Caleb took the pictures        during the party and even though he took 20 or 30 shots, this was the only one that was semi clear!  He's used to a camera with flash!
    10.  Aaron hanging out with our babies!
    11.   The kids playing in the splash pad at our town park.   It's hard to believe the picture of Alex in his snowsuit is only 3 days before this!   Crazy Indiana weather!


Here's a video of Alex laughing.  It took me awhile to get him to laugh ... and then he stopped as abruptly as he started.   Such a moody little guy!

i ♥ Faces - Best Face Photo from May 2011

This week is another people's choice week at i heart faces ... which means all of us get to vote for our favorites!   This is my favorite picture for the month of May ... my three beautiful girls!

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Water Fun

Here's a little video of the fun the kids had at the splash pad!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Homeschooling - End of the year review

We're finished for the year!!!!  We have a couple days  of history readings to finish up next week and one read aloud to carry over into the summer.  It's been a pretty good year.

Things That Worked:

  • Sonlight's Core 3 (Now D) -  We loved almost all the books this year.  We had many great discussions and the boys learned a lot.  We're looking forward to Core E next year ... although I think that will probably be our last Sonlight Core.  As much as we love Sonlight, logistically, with 6 kids, I just am not sure I can pull it off.  More about that later, though.
  • Growing with Grammar - This is a thorough, simple program that gets the job done in a relatively short amount of time.  Gotta love that!
  • Explode the Code - The girls both enjoyed these books.   A fun way to get some phonics practice in!
  • Horizons Math - My kids are not lovers of Math ... it actually is work and takes a fair amount of time each day.  But, I think Horizons does a great job of teaching Math.  It introduces things incrementally and then continually practices them throughout the year.  You don't have to worry about them forgetting what they learned, because of the constant review.
  • Sonlight Science 5 - Caleb used a little over half of this.  He'll finish it next year.   It started out a little rough, because he was hating the activity sheets.  Once I had him complete the readings and narrate to me, he really began enjoying it.
  • All About Spelling - We didn't start this until the very end of the year and only did it for a few weeks, but the kids all love it!  Time will tell if they learn from it, but it seems to do the job well.
  • Writing with Ease - Another thing that we didn't start until the end of the year.  I actually bought both this and AAS for next year and decided to begin them early.  Very simple to implement and yet seems to be very effective.
  • Getty Dubay Italics Handwriting - Caleb used this from the beginning and has very nice handwriting.  I decided to try something different with Joe ... and have switched to several different things ... and he still writes like a first grader!  The younger four will all use Italics from the start!
  • Hands-On Activities - The kids really enjoyed the activities I added this year and I hope to do even more next year!
  • Poetry Teas - The kids loved this!  It was a great way to get in our poetry readings in a fun an interesting way.
  • Memory Work - Again, this is something we didn't start until the end of the year.  This went really well!  The girls had a little harder time than the boys, but I was surprised at how well they did.  We'll definitely be making this a part of our daily routine next year!
  • Family Bible Readings - This was a way for Aaron to join in with the bible teaching this year.  He usually would read at either breakfast or lunch.
  • Various Montessori and Preschool Activities for Sarah - Not only do these help her developmentally, but they keep her busy for long periods of time.   I am going to plan her at least one activity every day next year.
  • Having a dedicated school room - We loved our school room!!  It's still evolving, but just having everything in one place is so wonderful!!  It's also so nice to be able to stop for lunch and not have to clear the table first of all the books.
  • Netflix - We've watched a lot of wonderful documentaries on the subjects we've studied this year, many on instant streaming.  A simple way to add a little fun to our school.
  • Tuesday Classes - This is a coop of sorts that we joined in this spring.  The boys both took P.E. and Caleb took Art.   They enjoyed their classes and were able to spend some time with friends, too.  

What didn't Work - 

  • Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek - This just moves so slow.  I think the first level is good if you are starting with very young students - it teaches the alphabet at a very slow pace.  We are switching to Elementary Greek next year.  My former Greek teaching husband says it looks much better!
  • Science - This one isn't the fault of anyone but me.   For some reason science is hard to fit in.  The ironic thing is my degree is in biology!  Next year I am going to try to do unit studies for science.  I already had animal, plant and human body units planned for this year, so we will use those.  Now, I just need to actually do it!!!
  • Art -  This is a subject, like science, that I tend to skip.  I'm hoping to better next year.
  • Sonlight's Language Arts - Just doesn't seem to be a good fit for us.  The writing assignments lack any actual writing instruction.  This may work for some people, but did not help my boys at all!
  • Bible Study Guide for All Ages - This is a great program!  But, again, it was something I didn't use as often as I could have.  We're incorporating bible into our memory work next year.  I also want Aaron to be more involved in Bible at our house.   With his education and constant study, this is an area that he can add more insight to for all of us.  I'm hoping to work our way through books of the bible next year, employing lots of  discussion and some individual study for the older ones.
  • Weekly scheduling in a day planner - This did not work for us.  In the next few weeks I hope to post about the planning I am doing for next year and our newest scheduling technique.  Stay tuned for details!!
  • Being pregnant and having a newborn throughout the entire school year - This one pretty much speaks for itself, but it has been a difficult year for me.  I'm hoping next year is better and I have a lot more energy and brain cells!!

Favorites:
  • Me - Read-Aloud: Witch of Blackbird Pond and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
  • Caleb:  Read-Aloud - Johnny Tremain; Reader - Om-Kas-Toe and Naya Nuki; The Backyard Olympics
  • Josiah: Read-Aloud - Calico Bush; Reader - Meet Thomas Jefferson; The Backyard Olympics
  • Rachel: Reader - Chang's Paper Pony;  Read-Aloud - Miss Rumphius; Crafts
  • Jada:  Favorite Read-Aloud - Go Dog Go; Field Trip to Mounds State Park
We finished our school year with a 'backyard olympics' this morning.  It was cold (in the 50's), but at least it stopped raining long enough for us to have a little fun!  Caleb made all the medals earlier in the week and thought up the events.   We had to skip a few due to the extremely wet conditions in our backyard.  The boys had a distinct advantage, but I was very proud of the girls for having fun even when they knew they couldn't win.

Backyard Olympics

{Long Jump - Caleb 1st (7 ft. 4 in.), Joe 2nd (7 ft), Rachel 3rd (4 ft); Sprint - Joe 1st, Caleb 2nd, Rachel 3rd; Standing High Jump - Caleb 1st (10 in.); Rachel 2nd (6.5 in); Joe and Jada 3rd (6 in.); 1/2 mile race - Joe 1st, Caleb 2nd; Hopping - Jada 1st, Rachel 2nd; Discus (our oversized frisbee) - Joe 1st, Caleb 2nd, Rachel 3rd; Shot Put (small rubber ball) - Joe 1st, Caleb 2nd, Jada 3rd; Basketball - Joe 1st, the other three tied for 2nd}

7 weeks off and then we start our new year!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

i ♥ Faces - Yellow

This week's theme at i ♥ Faces is yellow.   Yellow isn't a favorite around here (although, we did paint our kitchen yellow).  I did take this picture of Alex last week right after his bath.  He was wrapped up in his yellow bathrobe and looked so cute.   I'm not sure he agreed.   I guess yellow isn't a favorite of his!



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fresh Out of the Bath

Isn't he so cute?!?

But, he isn't always happy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Week in Review - Weeks 34 and 35

The end of the school year is in sight ... only one week left!!    We are winding down here and have kept things pretty basic for the last few weeks.  They've all continued on daily with their math.  The boys are continuing grammar every day as well.

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Rachel and Jada enjoying an impromptu picnic of watermelon and water.

Rachel has read several beginning chapter books these past few weeks, but I've not recorded which ones.  She also continues to enjoy picture books and loves reading to her younger sisters.

Watching the astronauts in space.
Watching the astronauts talking to the newscasters from space.  The kids loved seeing the effects of the lack of gravity on hair and jewelry.

Josiah has been reading Robert Fulton: Boy Craftsman
these two weeks.   

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Josiah and Jada having an informal lesson on static electricity!

Caleb finished reading Sarah Whitcher's Story and Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran, and Stone Fox.  He also read about blood and the cardiovascular system in science.

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Sarah working on her motor skills - putting her dolls shoes off and on.  

In History, we've learned about early immigrants to our country.   We learned about how cities began in our country ... the city was often built first and then the people came.  Quite the opposite of the European model.   We also learned about Eli Whitney and his importance to our country.

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Caleb making his own Pokemon comic books.  The boys have been devouring these in their spare time ... and Caleb always has to then make his own versions!

We also have been reading Imprisoned in the Golden City, a story about missionaries Adoniram and Ann Judson.   We finished reading Calico Bush, which we ended up enjoying greatly after its slow start.  We are now over half way through The Journeyman.

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Alex enjoying looking at his circus train.

I began pre-reading readers for next year and making review sheets for the boys.  We've had a little trouble this year with comprehension, so next year we are going to have a series of comprehension questions each day.  I still need to decide on readers for Rachel next year.  I will be using Sonlight readers, but a combination of the Grade 2 and Grade 3 readers.  We start back to school in mid July, so the next few weeks will be spent planning and reorganizing the school room in preparation for our new year.   I'm just hoping Alex is a more cooperative little guy by then!

I love these kids ...

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

4 months old


Today Alex is Four Months Old!

He's sleeping a little better now ... he only gets up 2 to 3 times a night.  Still a ways to go!

He's loves to be talked to ... and will reward you with a huge grin.

He thinks Mom and Dad are pretty funny ...  we can often get him to laugh at us.

He's started using a pacifier ... occasionally he'll get his thumb in. 

He loves to blow bubbles ... and consequently his shirt is always wet.



He loves to be swaddled at night ... if he's not he hits himself and wakes himself up.

He eats every 2 to 4 hours ...  but only eats for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

He still has extremely grumpy periods (or days) ... but they are interspersed with times of happiness.

He loves to talk ... and does so loudly.

He loves to grab things and put them in his mouth ... if nothing is nearby to grab, he just uses his hands.

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He takes a short nap in the morning ... and a 3-4 hour nap most afternoons on his tummy.

He wakes before seven ... and goes to bed around 10:30.

He loves Mom the most ... but likes Dad more and more.

He loves to be rocked ... and still loves being held.

He's growing and changing every day!

4 months

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Snapshots of Life

For Mother's Day I got an Ipod Touch.  I've been enjoying taking quick snapshots with it.  The quality isn't great, but I'm able to use it when dragging out my big camera is too much trouble.  I've downloaded the instagram app, but that's the only one I have so far (because it was free, LOL).  Do you have a favorite photo app?

Here's some of my shots from the last week.

Ipodphotos

And a funny video:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hair Cuts!!

Hair Cuts

Unexpected Blessing

The adjustment from five kids to six kids has been by far the hardest one for me.   A big part of it is probably that Alex is the most difficult baby we've had.   Another big part is that I have a trouble making toddler (she doesn't get the award for the biggest trouble making toddler, though).   I'm older, of course.  I also am juggling schooling four kids this time around.  Needless to say, I'm not feeling any better equipped at handling six today than I was the almost four months ago that Alex was born.

One blessing with number six has been my older kids.   They are old enough now to help me so much.  Caleb, Josiah, and even Rachel can hold Alex when I need a break from holding him, can entertain him when he needs attention, and can help keep an eye on Sarah.   They get Sarah breakfast and lunch (which are both self service meals at our house) and even get her dressed and change her diaper some days.  

All of the older kids have such a strong bond with the younger two.   They defend and protect Sarah and Alex, spoiling them both rotten every chance they get.   They love holding them and spending time with them.   It is truly beautiful to see and warms this Mom's heart.   So, even though six kids are harder, my big kids make it so much easier than it could be.  I'm so thankful to see the rich bonds my kids have with each other.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Some thoughts on Motherhood

I wrote this post on Monday and have been working all week to upload my video.  After trying innumerable times, I give up.  So ...  imagine a lovely video of me and my six at the end of this post!!


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After Mother's Day weekend I've been pondering motherhood.  Aaron and I both were blessed with wonderful, Godly mothers.   His Mom is no longer with us and Mother's Day brings an element of sadness.  Her passing, though, has helped me to appreciate my Mom all the more.  I want to make sure to spend time with her while she's still here.

Over the weekend, my oldest daughter and I looked through all our old photos.  It was amazing to see how little my big kids once were.  They were so cute (not that they're not cute now, but it's a different kind of cute).  Then, I started thinking about how my little ones would be their size in a blink of an eye.  In that same blink, my older ones would be grown and out of the house.

I know that I'm working myself out of a job.  I know that my goal is to raise Godly ADULTS.  But, the thought is still a little bit sad to me.   The years pass by so fast.   I want to live each day, drinking fully the rich gifts that God has blessed me with.  Those six little people (some are getting to be not so little) are such a blessing.  I can't imagine life without any of them.  They've changed my life in so many ways, and are instruments that God uses to turn me into the woman he wants me to be.

I found a few pictures of me and my older kids while we were perusing the old scrapbooks.  I decided too make a little video of my journey to being Mom of six!



Beautiful Sisters

Sisters in Spring

Monday, May 9, 2011

i ♥ Faces - Motherhood

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Gazing into a perfect face.  Loving him with all my heart ... even when I'm ready to pass out from exhaustion due to his aversion to sleep.   Motherhood.



Friday, May 6, 2011

Homeschooling - Week in Review - Week 33

Only three weeks left!  I've decided to stop feeling bad about what I can and can't do right now.  We'll get done what we can and the rest can wait until next year.  Hopefully when we start back up again, Alex will have learned how to sleep (at least a little bit).   I'm just not functioning well getting up 3, 4, sometimes 7 or 8 times a night.  My goal for the last three weeks is to continue on in Math and Grammar/Phonics and to complete Sonlight Core 3 (D, now).   Anything else we can get done will be great.

Math, Grammar and Phonics (depending on the kid), and reading all got done this week, every day.  Some days that was all that got done.

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Jada, throwing the dice.  She then put them together, telling me the number and which was in the tens and ones place.


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Rachel had to add the two numbers.


Science - Caleb learned about the reproductive system. The rest of us didn't do anything.

Reading -     Caleb finished Om-Kas-Toe.  Joe read Sarah Whitcher's Story.   Rachel read Dust for Dinner (I Can Read Book - Level 3) and Wagon Wheels .

History - The boys made a map of Lewis and Clark's Expedition.  We tried all week to watch the National Geographic documentary, but Netflix and I have been having trouble  (because it's not rated, parental controls block it.  Changing parental controls takes a day.  Then I guess I didn't do something right, because all the R rated stuff shows up ... but still no educational shows.   It's very irritating that you have to allow everything, no blocks at all, to watch educational shows.  Rant over) but we finally got to see it today.    We learned about the war of 1812 and about pushing back the Spanish colonies.  Today we started Imprisoned in the Golden City: Adoniram and Ann Judson, a missionary story.


Joe and Caleb working together to make their map.

Read Aloud - We continued reading Calico Bush, which we should finish this weekend.

Josiah completed 2 steps in AAS and did WWE two days this week.   Rachel completed one step in AAS and also did WWE this week twice.   

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Jada and Sarah stacking blocks, then knocking them down ... over and over again.


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Sarah was naughty and had to put her nose in the corner.  I thought she looked very cute!

And, last but not least, a cute picture of the little guy.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Waking Up In His Very Own Bed

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Alex woke up in his own bed yesterday morning (he "slept" there off and on during the night).


Every morning he makes sure everyone else in the house is awake, too.

Morning seems to be the only time he talks this loudly!  What a silly boy!

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