Thursday, February 26, 2015

How we do Homeschool

Every once in awhile, I'll receive an email from one of you asking how our family does this "whole homeschooling thing." While I'm happy to answer these questions, I'll be the first to admit that this has all been a huge learning process for me, and that I'm always open to trying new ways of homeschooling. And obviously I've only been doing this for two years so I still have plenty to learn in this area. :) I have tried several different schedules and routines, but for now this seems to be what I default to.

6:30/7:30- Kids usually wake up, typically the girls are the first ones up, and everyone eats breakfast as they wake up. Jack, Anna, and Lily do their morning jobs(pick up rooms, make beds, brush teeth), and I help Luke and Max get dressed and ready for the day.

As soon as Jack finishes his morning list, he comes and sits down to do his math and copywork. I'll try and get Luke, Max, and Lily set up with some water color paints or play dough, then sit down with Anna to do her math and copywork. Whenever Jack finishes, he reads to Lily and Max(we try to let Luke be in that mix too, but it doesn't work out too well yet.) Luke usually ends up on my lap playing with the math-u-see blocks while I do Anna's reading lesson.

Once Anna and I finish up, we all gather in the living room for "circle time." We start off with our Bible reading-which I usually have Jack read to us, although sometimes Jack and I take turns, then we move on to talking about the calendar and what day of the week it is. We might also try and do our Classical Conversations memory work if everyone's not getting too restless by the end of calendar time.

Circle time moves into reading time. We usually read some picture books that the kids have picked out, and then we'll read some books that have to do with the history and science we're talking about at the time.

By this point everyone's tired and restless(including me, if I'm being honest) so we take a break and have a snack, and the kids play for awhile.

At some point I'll have Jack read to me from his chapter book we're working on, and then Anna will usually request me to read some American girl to her, which Lily is always more than happy to sit in on. The little boys are usually alternating between clinging to me and playing trains and dinosaurs by now. :)

Twice a week, I aim to do spelling with Jack and Anna, and do some copywork with Lily. While I do spelling with Anna, Jack does letter flashcards with Lily(having an older child is so helpful!) Luke and Max make huge messes do blanket time during this.

By the time we make it through all this, it's lunch time and everyone needs a break. After lunch, I try to clean up a bit, and then spend a little time playing with the little boys before I put them down for their nap. Before nap I try(although I'm not always great about it) to sing and read them one more book of their choosing.

Once Luke and Max are settled into their naps, I pull out the legos for the older three kids and I read to them from our chapter book. Once a week, they'll do written/drawing narrations from what we've read, and depending on the day we might do classical music study, a science experiment, or an art project.

I aim to be done around 2, and then the older three kids go have quiet time. They usually draw, play legos, or play with their dolls. When it's nice out they play outside, but since it's winter right now, they have to make do with more legos and drawing. :)

And...I usually squeal and giggle as I walk to the living room, and collapse on the couch for the remainder of nap time, thankful to have made it through another day of homeschool. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lily Turns 5

Last week my spunky little Lily turned 5! Oh, my does this little girl keep us on our toes! :)

About a week before her birthday, I decided to throw a smallish princess birthday party for her during the week with a few of her friends. And then it worked out that both sets of grandparents were also going to be able to come in town on her party, and since her party wasn't even on her actual birthday, we had a lot of celebrating last weekend!

We started out the party by decorating cupcakes:

And, lest you think that there's a lot of kids in this picture...

We had the big boys decorate their cupcakes at a separate table. :)

Next we played the "Tangled" game, where the kids had to wrap each other up in Rapunzel's hair(also known as yellow crepe paper.) We tried to make it a race, but it got a little hectic, and then the kids decided it would be more fun to tangle up the moms.

Ha! Not a bad idea, I have to say. After the party my mom, mother in law, Anna and I took Lily to get her ears pierced..

But then she saw these Princess Elsa bears at Build a Bear, and changed her mind about getting her ears pierced. "I'll get my ears pierced next year!" She declared as soon as she saw the bears. Ha! I suppose if Disney doesn't come out with any new princess movies this year, that might be her birthday present next year. :)

On her actual birthday, we had a pretty relaxed day of church going and hanging out as a family. But we did eat nutella on everything for lunch, and had birthday strawberry cheesecake that night, so I think her birthday was a success.

Lily is so spunky, outgoing, and full of energy. Anna is her best friend, and she dotes on Luke. She has a big heart that loves babies, and she's always looking for ways to make us laugh.

Happy birthday, Lily, we pray every day that you will grow in your love for the Lord, and that you'll follow Jesus with your whole heart!

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