Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fresh Direction

The kids and I got together with some friends today. At the end of last year we decided that we really needed to get our girls together. Her daughter is 7 months younger than my girls and she has a son that is just a little younger than mine. She also has an older son and a younger son. What we realized in the process of getting our children together is that we also really have a lot in common and it's one of those relationships that I feel really good investing time in. Anyway, the kids and I went to their house today. We went to the pool for a while then went back to their house and had lunch and more play time. The kids all really entertain themselves when they are all together and that gives my friend and I some time to talk. Today we were talking about the homeschool year and I was telling her how stressed I get every year at this time and how I look back on all my failures and worry so much about not repeating them and how to do better, etc. She was such an encouragement to me. I have kind of been married to the workbook for a while. When we first started homeschooling it took my quite a while to find curriculum that suited our needs. I bought some things that didn't work, but every time I would buy something new I would feel like we needed to start over, so we ended up getting really behind, couple that with dealing with a child with a learning disability, a Mom (me) that wasn't as motivated as she should have been in the early years, and had 3 surgeries (preceded by medical problems) in 5 years, a house fire and the death of 3 grandparents and we were REALLY behind at times. We've worked really hard to catch up, but at times I've felt really overwhelmed by it. A very wise friend talked me into skipping some math and moving forward a couple of years ago and today's conversation furthered that. My girls are very smart, they have strengths and weaknesses like anyone else, but I felt like if we didn't finish every single workbook, then they might be missing something. After our conversation today (and some things I'd been noticing and thinking on). I feel fairly confident just putting them both in the appropriate day and dealing with weaknesses as I notice them. I will not continue to define us as behind. We will begin a new "day" so to speak and I'm confident that my children will be no worse for the wear. I'll let you know when all of our final decisions are made and what our schedule ends up looking like.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

School Year Plan....so far

I really haven't had a lot of time to ponder what our year will look like. So for the moment I kind of mostly know what we're going to be using, but I'm not sure yet how we'll be structuring our days. I do know we are hoping for a 4 day school week, but we'll see. We may just have a 5 day with one day being a lighter load. Here's the breakdown thus far:

Bible together - We typically have a short devotion, Bible story, then take turns reading the corresponding scripture, a short discussion, scripture memory practice and prayer. Sometimes we also sing praise and worship music. This usually takes about a half an hour or more, but we LOVE this time together.
We'll finish this time together with a lesson from 1st Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, mostly for Mason's benefit, but the girls enjoy reviewing the poems and it doesn't hurt them to review the language rules while he learns them. These lessons are very short.
Science - Apologia's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day ~ We may also buy the corresponding lapbook or notebooking pages.
History - The Mystery of History Volume 1
I definitely have to figure out how we are going to structure this time together and exactly how we will do the science and history. I'm leaning toward spending two days on Science and two days on History each week, but I'm not sure yet.

Reading - We need to hit this subject hard this year. Mason can sound out words, but has no confidence in his own abilities, so we'll really be working on that. I plan to use a combination of things: MCP Plaid Phonics; Explode the Code and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. He's been through most of 100 Easy Lessons, but enjoys the lessons, so I thought going back through it might help boost his confidence. We'll also be using Bob Books.
Math - Modern Curriculum Press as well as some math games and memorization tools.
Spelling - Spelling Workout
Language - Possibly - Scott Foresman's Grammar and Writing Handbook

Math - Modern Curriculum Press and Memorization tools
Spelling - Spelling Workout and ???? She struggles in this area and I may look into some curriculum for struggling spellers.

Math - Memorization tools and ?????? probably Teaching Textbooks, but I'm still slightly undecided.
Vocabulary - ????

Both Girls
Language - Simply Grammar? and Scott Foresman's Grammar and Writing Handbook
I will also add journaling this year.
Literature - I will be assigning books and book reports this year. Not sure which books yet, another decision that must be made soon.

It looks a little overwhelming, but I plan to break it down into very manageable days and we are not participating in co-op this year, so we should be good. I'm hoping for a 3-4 hour school day. Their reading and journaling would be done in "free" time. Both girls like to read and I'm pretty sure they will enjoy the journaling as well, so I don't feel like those will make their load feel any heavier.

I'm also planning to start a Bible Study with the girls this year and think we'll all enjoy that time together. We may also try to find a way to squeeze some art in. I have some good curriculum and the supplies and think they'd enjoy doing that at least once a week. Also, some of the subjects that have multiple things listed, if we find that some of them are unnecessary we will drop them. I'm pretty flexible (took me a LONG time to learn that) and like to do what works for us, so I usually make out a schedule then adapt it as we go to what is actually working for us.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Breakfast and Lunch Menus

We'll use these menues every week. Right now we mostly eat cereal and oatmeal for breakfast and sandwiches and soups for lunch, so this will add more variety and make it easier to calculate what I need for groceries.

Breakfast Menu
Monday – Cereal
Tuesday – Muffins
Wednesday – Oatmeal
Thursday – Toast w/cheese or Jelly
Friday – Cereal
Saturday – Free (Mom cooks or pick your favorite)
Sunday – Muffins or biscuits and sausage or bacon

Lunch Menu
Monday – Veggies (mostly this will be leftovers)
Tuesday – Sandwiches
Wednesday – Wraps (Tortillas with chicken, veggies, cheese and ranch dressing)
Thursday – Soup (Ramen, canned or homemade)
Friday – Tortilla pizza
Saturday – Free
Sunday – Mimi’s or leftovers

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2 Week Supper Menu

I created this menu and will use it regularly. I will occasionally make changes based on what's on sale or what I already have on hand, etc. But for the most part it will stay this way.

Taco Salad
Homemade Vegetable Soup with Cornbread
Greek Chicken with Greek Green Beans (Potatoes are cooked in with the chicken)
Grilled Chicken with Potato Salad and Cole Slaw
Grilled Venison with Broccoli and Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
Chicken Casserole with Black Eyed Peas and Whole Kernel Corn
Spaghetti with Salad and Homemade Whole Wheat French Bread
Stir Fry
Country Veggies (Pinto Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Turnip Greens and Cornbread)
Salmon Croquettes (in the South we usually call them Salmon Patties) with Salad & Lima Beans
Santa Fe Rice and Beans with Mexican Cornbread
Fajita Stew served over Rice
Chicken and Dumplings with Corn on the Cob and Green Beans
Grilled Chicken Salad with Homemade Whole Wheat French Bread

I don't assign particular days to any of it, so I can choose what works best for me that day. I might do the meals that require cornbread together, so I only have to make it one day, etc. You can click on some of the items and it will take you to the recipe. I'll try to post some of the other recipes soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Didn't Fall Off the Bandwagon or the Face of The Earth

I'm still here! I've just been sooooo busy that I haven't had time or energy to post. I did have my last day of work almost 2 weeks ago. I left the very next day for 5 days of church camp. Then my uncle passed away so we had church and visitation on that Sunday, then the funeral on Monday, then I went back to church to help organize food at our church's Manna House. Tuesday night we had a ladies pajama party and game night at our church. Wednesday we visited my Dad's cousin (she's a widow and the kids and I really enjoy spending time with her), then church that night. Thursday we went to a Water Park with a friend. Friday I had to do some gift shopping and met my friend in town to try on and buy my bridesmaid dress for her wedding. Saturday we delivered baked goods for our church's apartment complex outreach and went to my Mom's to see my niece (my brother is divorcing and we only get to see her a couple of times a month). Sunday was of course church, then we came home and vegged. I think I took a 3 hour nap and then slept awful last night.

Anyway, as you can see I'm enjoying my newfound freedom. We're doing fun stuff and getting to serve more often. Eventually I'm gonna have to slow this wagon down a bit so we can tackle the house and the years homeschool planning.

As for weight loss, it has been slow going. I've almost been at this for 4 months and for about 4 weeks the scales didn't move. Thankfully (praise the Lord), I was able to stay on the bandwagon and have started losing weight again. At last weeks weigh in I had lost another 1.4 lbs. and on this weeks I'd lost .6 lbs. for a total of 18 lbs. lost. I think this slow weight loss is what I can expect from here on out. It can be frustrating, but I keep reminding myself that the slower it comes off the easier it will be to keep off, I'm eating much more healthfully and every month that I stick with this is continuing to build on this habit of a healthy lifestyle. I have not lost a size yet, but can see a big difference in my waistband. I'm definitely ready to see more progress. I'll keep updating my ticker as I go and I'll try to be a better blogger.....