Guys, you haven't seen some cute updates to the kids rooms in a while.
In January, Lena made this model of the Solar System. Also, her hibernating/dead (we're not yet sure) wooly bear caterpillar is living in the butterfly net house.
The planets glow in the dark!
She is really loving the IKEA dishes she got for Christmas. You can see the overhead projector on the shelf, too.
The boys' rooms have super great matching quilts which are this day loaded under other blankets. But they LOVE their shelves for display. PJ is itching for a lamp like Jack has. I have it in the closet, but I think not yet.
I love their Pinterest inspired string art initials behind each bed.
I did it on two panels of wood rather than on the wall.
I hung some photos of the boys and Paul along with the bow that Jack & Paul made at LWBC's father son weekend. Also, PJ's alphabet poster from Christmas 2011.
I'm putting this post together sort of last minute, but it has been such an amazing year here at our homeschool, that I need to document it for the ages! By that, I mean, I'm really hoping our kids will be able to look back at our family blog as a sort of journal of their young lives, thus far!
So, here is our "average" day and we do have more of those than not, for which I'm thankful to God!
7: I wake up, and Paul has already started his wake up routine. I grab the iPad (from bed if I'm lucky) and read the Daily Bread. I spend some time in prayer and get a few minute snuggle from PJ (4) who is usually up and crawled in to bed with me by now.
7:30 Jackson (10) has been reading for a half hour already and I've got all the kids dressed and ready for devos and breakfast with Dad.
8: Paul leaves for work and kids do chores. I'm dressed by now and grabbing a quick breakfast and tea.
8:30 I've got a special backpack of toys set out just for PJ today, and Jackson & Lena (7) and I hit the couch for around an hour. We read a psalm, pray, read from one of our magazines we get (usually Clubhouse) read from our chapter book, practice our memory work for our co-op and talk about what else is going on in our day.
9:30 Lena & I spend time practicing her reading with a kids Bible, Hooked on Phonics, and an easy reader. Jack takes a look at his work schedule for the day (thanks to Sonlight) and usually starts with reading (wouldn't you?)
9:45 Snack break and I start the coffee brewing. I water the chickens and meet Lena back at the table.
10: Lena continues work on her language arts, Awana, art lesson, and piano while I check in with Jack here and there. PJ works from his "desk", a table on the floor by us as long as he wants then he heads off to room time. Room time is anything longer than 5 minutes which then earns him some computer time. Usually if he heads off to his room, he gets engaged in something and will give me at least 20 minutes to work with Lena. Then he does Starfall or Jellytelly around 30 minutes or so.
10:30 If we're having a good day, Lena and I start math by 11. We spend around 45 minutes on this subject just her and I together, so I'm pleased as punch if we get started on it by lunch time. Jack is "mostly" an independent worker with me acting more as the tutor.
11:30 I dismiss Lena to play with PJ (peacefully?) while I make lunch.
12:30 I read PJ & Lena two books and they head to an hour of room time (bliss!) Jack takes an hour to free read or play legos or something else for free time. I check on email, read a book, paint something, walk the dog, or do something fun for me.
1:30 Lena is done with school unless we need to tie up loose ends. If we save something it's either her reading to me or a math lesson together and it varies when we try to finish this during the day. If she and PJ are playing well, we'll work on it after dinner. If they are discontented with each other, sometimes I'll ask Jack to play with PJ and she and I will work. Jack heads back to school work and usually does another hour or so.
3: I feel very inept at getting us all outside each day. It seems such a struggle 6 months out of the year. But I attempt here sometimes with bribery of ice cream or hot cocoa for them taking time to play outside. Again, once I get them out there, they take off on their own fun, but it is hard getting over that first cliff. Otherwise, the kids play and I work on household stuff or lessons for co-op/Awana.
4: Media time! Whatever screen they want is theirs for one glorious hour (they say!). I start on dinner and finish up housework, etc.
5:30 Dinner and sometimes an evening activity. Otherwise, Dad is the games leader and I get to just follow the crowd (and take photos).
7: PJ & Lena head to bath and books and bed. I usually am the reader for them.
8: I read aloud to Jack and then he heads off by 8:30.
Our pattern has been to school September thru May. We are a pretty traditional homeschool, though I don't worry too much about "grade level" as I feel we've got motivated learners. We give them enough free choice that most of the time, even with seemingly laborious tasks, they have helped choose the what and how of their learning and practice. We participate in a homeschool co-op one morning a week for all three kids. We try to keep evening activities to a minimum or at least ones that we can do together.
It is a pretty organized and well oiled machine. Our first born, Jackson, seems to thrive on schedules and lists like me, and the other two kids have really had no choice but to follow our lead as we've been on this schooling journey. We're a little classical education and a lot of literature based learners.
I wouldn't trade our situation and set up for the world. I love what the good Lord has blessed Paul & I with here and we are trying to just soak up each day as it comes.
Thanks for checking in with our family!
Click here to see what we were up to last year in 2012!
This guy is with his Dad-i-o this weekend for Father/Son Retreat at camp. You wouldn't believe how the dishes and garbage pile up when this kid isn't around!!!! Ha ha, but that's not the only reason I miss him being gone!
A few weekends ago he took a day and a half to put together this Ferris wheel. Besides being quality control, I didn't help at all. I know all my kids are bright, but Jack is extremely well read. Though he doesn't always have proper pronunciation, his vocabulary is scary big.
Watching him do this project, though, is a good example of even a bright kid needing training in patience, diligence and persistence. Diligence, in particular is a character quality I pray often for Jack.
You can see this little table I pull out for PJ while we're doing school work. He has his own "desk" and works right by us (but not on top of us!). This day he was playing with a felt pizza making kit. Lena and I spent a bit of time last summer making some fun baggies of felt fun like this. PJ's desk is a new addition to our school room since Christmas and it is working really well.
Also working well...I packed away 5 different toy backpacks and bins. We pull one out each day for PJ to play with while I read to the kids. That way he is right by us and included, but not interrupting. So far...working great!
We have been over fevers for 48 hours from Influenza A and I'm so grateful for restored health. We had a family movie night tonight and it was snuggly and fun. Now Jack is curled up with a new Rick Riordan book and I'm catching up on down time where I sit on the couch and try to stay awake until a decent hour to go to bed!
Thanks for all the prayers and support sent our way during illness!
Poor girl. When parents take photos like this, I always think "That kid is going to love that one on the poster board at their high school graduation!" They are usually naked pics of toddlers in the bath tub, though. Is this any better!!
It has become normal around here to clean one time a week on Saturdays.
I used to get all the cleaning done by doing one job a day. That worked for a good many years.
Since we moved into this house, though, I have had not just Jackson, but Lena has really stepped into her own as a solid household helper. It's like after all these years, she's finally coming off the bench and into "the show". (Yes, I'm watching the game as I write this.)
A usual Saturday morning includes cartoons, a bigger breakfast, and then an hour of regular chores and house cleaning. Jack had basketball today, though, so we tackled it after dinner! And we got it all done except the kitchen floor, which maybe I'll still tackle if I have playoff nerves working through my system.
So I post the house cleaning chart and everyone just chooses the jobs that seem the least tiresome. Oh, and PJ took a bath, so he was content for a good 40 minutes! It's not a deep clean, for sure, but if we do the minimum every week, at least, we keep on top of things. I leave toilets and bathroom/kitchen floors for myself and I usually re-do the sinks, too. While doing those tougher jobs I just try to keep the two kids moving and in less than an hour, we finish.
I think the kids realize that their help each day around the house frees me up to play games with them in the evening, like tonight. I'm also able to fully devote myself to homeschooling and food prep during the week days. I don't even do dishes throughout the day, because I know in the evening we'll all work together to get the place picked up.
In this case, and with the cozy size of our home (read: small, which I love BTW), it doesn't take a village, but having two extra pairs of hands to help really makes a difference!