Friday, April 18, 2014

Homeschool Egg Hunt

Our wonderful group of homeschool friends put together an amazing Easter event.  There were egg relay races, yummy snacks and treats, and a huge egg hunt.  We had a wonderful time today!  We love celebrating holidays with our friends.

Nobody strikes again

"Nobody" strikes again!

With 4 children there are bound to be messes and things broken.  I imagine this poor house cringing at the childrens' screams and laughter as it is usually the one who takes on the most abuse. 

Today was yet another notch in the frame, so to speak, as the curtain rod was yanked out of the wall.  Of course I asked who was responsible.  Won't you guess it? 

"Nobody" strikes again along with his accomplice "Idunno".  One day I will catch this dynamic duo but today, unfortunately, is not that day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Garden Sensory Bin and REAL butterflies!

Our family just received our 10 caterpillars from and I must say we are super excited.  The last time we did this was 2 years ago (last year we did the praying mantises) and our 3 and 4 year old don't remember ever doing this so it is new to them.

To celebrate the beginning of our butterfly journey I stayed up and made a Garden Sensory Bin.

I cut "grass" from green construction paper (we have a possible grass allergy in this house and this is less messy).  The "dirt" is black beans.  I bought an 8 pack of bugs from the dollar store (love the dollar store).  Also the flowers are from the dollar store.  The butterflies I purchased are from one of those tubes and I bought it on to be sent with the butterflies.

I took the flowers and bent the bottom and masking taped it to the bottom of the bin.  Then I layered it this way: black beans, bugs, grass and then I added the butterflies all over.

I didn't expect our real butterflies to be shipped so quickly!  I was very impressed.

Time to hit the library and start a project on butterflies.  That in addition to recycling will be our focus for the end of April and for Earth Day.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Our Pursuit to Homeschool

Someone recently asked me what we have given up as a family in our pursuit to homeschool.

First my answer was:
Mostly the same things I gave up to become a Stay at Home Mom: Cable, some extra curricular activities, only one car in our family now, we pay for the school-aged children's lunches now whereas before they had free lunch at school.  We cut back on family vacations and date night money, but you know what? Our family is extremely blessed and happy. I wouldn't change it!

Then I thought about it the rest of the day.  There is so much more to this.

This is my new response:
We gave up driving 2 HOURS a day with little ones in tow for the 30 min drive to and from school to drop off and pick up every day. We gave up bullies and negative attitudes towards learning. We gave up teaching to the tests!  We won't let our children be just a number on a chart. We gave up parent teacher conferences every other week and fighting with the teachers, principals, and the school district (ESE Director was on my speed dial) because my kids were being left behind (one too Gifted and one with delays- Dyslexia and Speech) We gave up the struggle of over an hour of homework during the cooking dinner hour AFTER their 6 hour days when neither were learning anything because it was not their learning styles or interests and it is just too long of a day to not have time to play...15 minutes of recess is not enough in my opinion. 
We gave up fundraisers and paying for uniforms and school pictures and $200 lists of school supplies PER KID per year. We gave up on last minute bake sales and volunteering in classes other than our kid's class because that just wasn't allowed. We (my daughter really) gave up the idea of needing a cell phone at age 7 "because everyone else in class has one". We don't have to bring our kids to school sick out of fear that the school will send the truancy officers to our house because we have pulled them out too many days that year for doctor appointments, even though they were for pink eye, strep throat, and the flu which are all just causes. Nope. We don't have to worry about driving home to pick up the forgotten lunch box or hearing lectures about homework not getting finished because our son passed out after too long of a day at school at age 5. We finally have a sense of PEACE and LIFE and JOY and LOVE for learning. Our son who had acquired a hate for reading during Kindergarten in public school so profound that he would cry or tantrum every time we were going to even sit down to read now smiles and will participate and is reading easy books on his own and he is so proud of himself. We are too!
 Whatever sacrifices we may have given up to homeschool are completely worth it in those moments when your kids are enjoying books and learning and discovering new things. Such precious memories our families will carry on for a lifetime. I'm so happy we made this decision to homeschool! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Socializing our Homeschooling Family

"You're going to Homeschool?!" 

What about 

That is normally one of the first questions out of the mouths of family, friends, and strangers.

To me it is actually a little silly.  I feel people are no longer in touch with the education system and are basing this worry off their own personal experiences which are far from what school is today.  I remember having actual "down time" and playing games in class like "Heads up 7 up" or having "free time" on the day's agenda.  We would talk at lunch time with our neighbors.  I remember playing for half an hour on the playground and talking with my friends throughout the day, whenever the teacher wasn't giving instruction.

That no longer exists!

My children barely socialize at school and when they do it is forced or completely inappropriate.  They get to school early and are forced to sit criss-cross applesauce and NOT TALK!  They are not allowed to talk in class or play games with their class because the teacher is giving instruction more often and/or there is no time in the day for the teacher to have the freedom to do such things.  They cannot talk to each other while walking to the next location be it the library, lunch room, or specials.  Speaking of the lunch room I went to have breakfast and lunch with my kids on several occasions and all you hear in the lunch room is the aides telling kids to "Hurry up and eat your food."  "Be quiet!  You should be eating not talking."  Not one kid spoke with their neighbor.  By the way if the kid gets their food quickly they may have all of 10 minutes to eat.  Talk about a stomach ache!  Either they didn't finish and are still hungry or they ate too quickly and now their belly hurts.

They can talk during their 10-15 minute recess, although this is where much of the bullying goes on, but that is for another post.  Finally they get to come home and while sitting in the car rider line they are told they are too loud or not to talk again.  In addition to this, my daughter came home with many inappropriate stories about things her peers had seen in rated R movies.  She can describe the Texas Chainsaw Massacre to you in detail even though she would never be allowed to watch that movie under this roof.  She has stories about eyeballs falling out and going down the drain.  Once two classmates of hers went into the bathroom together (where was the teacher?) and played Bloody Mary.  My point is that when they are being socialized it is not necessarily the socialization you would hope for your child.  I don't even let my kids watch the news and there is a reason for that.  I don't need these unsupervised kids introducing them to such things when I am trying to guard their hearts.

I guess my point is that schools are not really the place for socialization now-a-days.  If you ask my kids about friends they are going to bring up the kids in scouts or sports or clubs they are part of.  To me that is true socialization and socialization does not have to be forced or occur with only their peers.  It is good for them to learn how to communicate with people who are older and younger as well.  After all, one day they will be out there in the world working alongside other individuals of varying ages.  Traditional school does not prepare them for those situations.

Back to the original question: 

What about 

Well my kids have been being socialized since birth.  
We are part of a wonderful group called:
It is a Christian group for mothers and their children ages birth to 5 years old.  We learn about topics interesting to us with wonderful speakers, discussion time, and we always have a creative activity to go along with it.  While Mommy is having her time the kids are all learning, playing, and doing crafts as well.  They have had the same group of friends for years.  Now that I have 2 older children who have "aged out" they will be helping with the littler ones.  I am on the leadership team so we are there weekly for a few hours and they love it!

Our oldest is part of Girl Scouts and is a Brownie this year!  
We are very involved in cookie sales and service work, as well as camping and crafts.  

She also took part in a Dance Group where the dancers for a high school bring in younger girls and teach them a routine and then the girls get to take part in a half time show during football season.  She loves that!

We will also be taking part in Sunday school at church and also another church program called: 
which is basically scouts at church where you learn verses to earn badges and do lots of fun activities to go along with it.  They will be taking part in AWANAS while Mommy is part of a Bible Study.  Win.  Win.

Our daughter will be taking an Art class this year once a week that we are very excited about.  
She has a passion for Art and wants to one day sell her artwork in a gallery or at art shows.  Her uncle and grandfather (my husband's brother and father) received full rides to art school if they wanted it.  His whole family is very artistic and she seems to have inherited that, which is very exciting for me.  I can't draw anything to save my life!  She will be working on canvas and with oils and charcoal and mediums I know nothing about with 9 other students grades 2-5.  She will be the youngest and she will be able to socialize with other students who have this same passion with her.  So exciting!

Our oldest son will be in AWANAS, helping with MOPS, Sunday school at church, and we are trying to get him into:
 and maybe a sport, although he has not yet decided on anything he wants to do yet.  He also has 2 days at Speech a week where he has 45 minute private lessons, so our plate is getting a little full.

Our youngest 2 sons will be in Cubbies (AWANAS), MOPPETS, and Sunday school at church.

In addition to these things we have signed up for 2 local homeschool groups.  They have monthly Art field trips and other various field trips and events.  They have a science fair every year, book clubs, yearbooks, spelling bees, ice cream socials, dances.  One has a group setting up a Field Trippers group for grades K-4 which we are getting in on too.

How can anyone ask us about socialization?!

The way I see it, that is the least of our worries.  Maybe we should be worrying about the students in traditional public schools.  We had girls drop out of our troop this past year because they could not do Girl Scouts and get their homework done and their FCAT (standardized test in Florida) HOMEWORK PACKET.  Something had to give and it was the positive self-confidence building group where they socialized in a safe and appropriate setting.  That is really sad.  Then again testing is all schools care about in Florida anyways.  Sigh.

Again we are so excited about this upcoming year!  
We are already a part of so many fun things and we can get involved in even more now.

Friday, July 19, 2013


We have officially become a HOMESCHOOLING FAMILY!

I have always been open to the idea and after 3 years of consideration and circumstances we are standing on the threshold of our first year of homeschooling in this incredible journey of parenthood.

I must admit I am overwhelmed and excited all at the same time!

We have 4 little ones and we will be homeschooling them all.  Today I will give everyone a brief description of our little ones and where they are at.

Our oldest is 7 and technically will be in 2nd grade, although we had her tested this year and was completely unsurprised to discover she is Gifted.  Unsurprised as she has always been ahead of the crowd in academics, usually 1-2 grades above other kids her age and in some subjects above 2 grades.  She excels in anything creative and artsy and we have signed her up for a fancy weekly Art Class this school year.  She also loves Girl Scouts.  If left to her own accord, she loves researching and writing reports (normally about animals and right now about dinosaurs!)  Her favorite pastimes are riding bikes with daddy, baking with mommy, crafts, and reading.

Our second is turning 6 in less than 2 weeks and will be in 1st grade.  He is Dyslexic with Speech delays but, with the exclusion of Reading and Language Arts, is above average in every subject, particularly Math.  He was building equations and teaching his peers math lessons in Kindergarten!  Our sensitive guy is very athletic, active, and hands-on.  He is a fantastic "outside the box" thinker!  He absolutely loves movies!  His favorite pastimes are playing with magnets, dressing up like superheroes, and playing pretend with his "guys".

We also have a very intelligent, almost 4 year old Preschooler.  He knows all of his letters and letter sounds and today he spelled "C-A-T" and came to show me.  I can't believe he is already building words!  He is a puzzle MASTER and loves to tinker with things until he gets it just right.  He can do simple addition and subtraction of numbers 1-10 and can count to 20.  He is just beginning to show interest in writing, particularly his name, which we are very excited about!  He loves playing outside!  He is very athletic and is a very concentrated thinker.  He is a born leader and sometimes I feel he would have preferred to be the oldest or only child.  He likes his quiet time and is an "animal whisperer".  His favorite pastimes (besides puzzles!) are "reading", cuddling, petting his kitties and puppies, and helping mommy.

Our youngest is 2 1/2 years old and we are working on potty training right now.  We are pleasantly surprised that he can count to 25 already!  He is currently working on shapes, colors, and letters and really enjoying the sensory bins we have created him.  He is extremely silly and loves to make people smile.  He loves to just jump into whatever anyone is doing and participate, unfortunately he regularly is the "bad guy" during superheroes since nobody else wants that "job", but he doesn't mind.  He loves his siblings and playing whatever games they like.  His favorite pastimes are looking at books, playing outside, being held by Mommy (ALL the time), and watching shows.  His favorite show is Magic School Bus right now.

With 4 completely different learners and personalities I am a little overwhelmed, but we feel this is the right place for our family and we know that this will greatly benefit them.

We are so excited to start!
We are using July as our "planning" month as we set up our school and get this year planned out.

I'll go more into our PLAN next time!  Just wanted to make an announcement today.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My EPIC Dinner Party

My Dinner Guests!

If I could invite any 10 guests to My Dinner Party, I'd invite:

1. Ryan Gosling
Every dinner needs eye candy!

2. Tom Delonge
Every dinner needs musical entertainment...and eye candy.

3. Jesus
Every dinner needs interesting discussions and I have a few questions for this guy...
plus he'd probably have an interesting discussion with my next guest...

4. Nostradamas
Just for kicks I'd invite him to see what he says about our "future"...
like having a psychic palm reader, but BETTER!

5. Lady Gaga
Everyone at my party would be styled by Lady Gaga and receive fashion advice.

6. Chef Gordon Ramsey
That way we can critique his cooking and yell if we feel so inclined. 

7. King Henry VIII
I have to see what this guy was really like!  I really hope he looked like he did in the show The Tudors!  Who would marry this man after he already killed so many wives?!  I'm convinced there's something the books aren't telling us!

8.  Stephen Colbert
Every dinner needs comedic relief and maybe we'd hold a political rally his in honor.

9. Christian Grey
Why not?  It's my party and he's rich so maybe he'll bring a nice gift for the hostess...
and/or EYE CANDY!

10. The entire cast of Big Bang Theory
YES I'm cheating!  But they will make me so happy!  I picture them like the above picture at my party, but dressed Lady Gaga style.  :)

So there you have it.  I know you're all jealous of my EPIC party right? 
Happy thoughts...