Tuesday, August 30, 2016

When is School Time?

Homeschooling is an ever evolving process. it took me some time to figure out that the typical teaching methods of planned units was less effective. Between differing interest and grade levels, it made it hard to reach both kiddos. It was difficult to give up my neurotic tendencies to plan and control everything. I began taking up rabbit trails as they came along. Watching I can't begin to tell the number of times I've been asked "when' do my kids do school. It's as if their learning is a scheduled item, something to be checked off. While we do do certain things like practicing reading or math and typing skills, (usually first thing in the morning) there is no definite school time.  I would like to think that learning really happens all day long.  Sometimes its cooking together, other times its when we're at the store pricing out items we need.  There are those time with other homeschool friends when I'm nearby and can help smooth social interactions and we can talk about what we learn 

My little helper setting the schedule for the day!

Earning money by caring for some pets while their owners were away.  While there we had a lucky find of a palo verde beetle who was sadly nearing the end of life.  It's the biggest bug we've ever caught.

Fun at the park, even Leora suprised us, climbing up ladders and swinging on the big girl swing!

On a cooler morning during Eli's therapies we went outside to do a little long jumping. (hooray for the Olympics!)  Bug-love found two bugs "making babies!" and decided to throw them a wedding.

Bubbalicious working hard at therapies!

Solar ovens with friends

So for this and many other reasons we no longer talk about 'school time'.  It's now learning time and sometimes it's structured, sometimes it's not but either way it happens all the time because living is learning and growing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Crumbs in the Butter Moments

I have been asked countless times how I'm "holding up" with homeschooling. I'm never quite sure how to take this. It's either said with a dubious look as if I will implode any minute with the supposed pressure I'm under or it's said with an unwarranted admiration as if I'm Atlas carrying the world on my shoulders. It's neither. I'm certainly not a Titan and if I'm imploding, I'm doing it with great pleasure.

I suppose this is coming on the heels of everyone returning to school. I hear conversations of the relief that parents are experiencing with the kids gone for longer stretches than a bathroom break! I remember that feeling as well, the summer was fun for the first 2, possiblely 3 weeks but it quickly fell into the chaos of bored children with nothing to do but pick on one another. Admittedly when we first started there was a definite period of adjustment, I'd quickly nip the fighting in the bud by sending them on a quick run to the stop sign and back, or giving them a chore no matter how menial because if you have energy to fight .... After three months they seemed to figure out it wasn't worth it and THEY became better at occupying themselves in productive and fun activities.

We had one such morning so I set them to the task of washing the van.  Guess who forgot to fight and ended up in some wet fun!

As for space for myself, I had determined early on to ensure I had girl nights at least 2-3x a month, I maintain a 3-5 days per week of exercise which does a ton for me. (Yes, this nerdy, bookworm girl has become addicted to exercise) Finally I make sure I have an hour each and every day that is MY time. The kids are occupied with electronics and the littlest is napping and that glorious hour is spent on things that feed me.

This cutie had to get in on the action!

Most often that means I'm  playing a digital puzzle to help with my neurotic obsession with control and order. (If only all problems and people were like a puzzle!). But often it spent for me to learn and grow. I've loved listening to podcasts (my favorites being TED talks and Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History) and even Kent and I spend out "free" TV time watching documentaries. Asking education a part of living for my kids has really rubbed off on us.

He greatest thing that has resulted from all of this is how it has changed us, our family and how we view the world.  We've always wanted our children to be more globally minded and with more time we've begun delve deeper into certain subjects.  Our latest was on Helen Keller.  We took the time to draw a picture in a pitch black room.  While we laughed at our funny creations and talked how we used our sense of touch to figure out where to put the sun and flowers and tree, it suddenly became serious when we talked about the pictures being produced by someone who is blind.  We took time to learn some braille and Isaac even learned how complicated it compose messages with it.  Then we added another layer by telling them to imagine them not only being blind but deaf also.  It has made them more sympathetic to those that struggle with things typical people don't  - ultimately it has helped them understand their brother more.

Of course this and many other projects take away from the little things I did to keep the house in my preferred neurotic order.  We're busy with so many things that I delegate to the older two.  The vacumming of the floor isn't nearly half as thorough, crumbs are everywhere when making toast and books lay all over the house.  In the end I'm learning to be okay with 'crumbs in the butter' moments because I know the process of growing and learning is more important than the end result.

So glad to be on this journey with these munchkins.  Now that we've found a rhythm it's a good fit for us and we have more opportunities to make memories together.  The little irritations of imperfect life can't hold up in the face of these things!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Camping Fun

Sometimes you just need to get into nature!

These two went camping with Baba on a ward campout.  It was lovely to get to somewhere cooler so they could romp as children ought to do at their age.

Memories are the best when shared with friends.

We'd love to do this as a family but until we can get the logistics of a familiar home base (perhaps a camp trailer)  figured out for Eli's comfort and security, it will have to wait .  Until then I'm grateful they have these memories to share with Kent.  He's the best Baba ever!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bug-love is Seven!!

This beautiful young girl just turned seven!!

I remember how years ago I have discovered I was pregnant with her that I felt terrified because I had only brothers and had no idea how to raise a girl.  Now I'm so grateful to have her and she has opened up a world to me that is beautiful because we share the bond of being women.

The day began with her requested breakfast berries and whip cream on pancakes.  She opened her gift and with all her newfound skills of braiding she now has a means to practice without torturing her little sister who has struggled to keep the little hair that she has!

We did our family lunch at Peter Piper's Pizza and had plenty of fun with the games. Bubby snuggled up to watch some Olympic basketball

This year's cake theme was a  butterfly but the hardest thing was she wanted an ice cream cake.  I played around with ideas while she was gone on a campout I tried my hand and layering the two and decorating quickly with real whipped cream and candies.  She was pretty happy with the results.

A small birthday playdate was planned with her requested tea party with butterfly cookies, PB&J or grilled cheese sandwiches.  The girls had a blast playing dress up and Isaac had fun with his friend Santi who was due back to Honduras with his cousin Cami the following day.  Those two were some of the best summer playmates for my kiddos!

She is really becoming such a lovely young woman!  Since we've begun to homeschool she's blossomed in ways without the added weight of social drama and anxiety.  She's sensitive and eager to learn, particularly when it comes to things that bring about greater social awareness.  She has always been generous to everyone around her, particularly her siblings no matter how annoying they may be.  There's a power when an individual discovers their own inherent worth as a child of God and I've seen her grow in that way.    I'm so proud to be her Mama and she has taught me much in her brief 7 years.  I'm sure she'll be an amazing woman someday!