Monday, September 24, 2012

It's that time...

Believe it or not but a year (on Tuesday!) has passed since Judah was born! If you remember, or perhaps you're new, but when we were mid-pregnancy we had a sonogram and they told us we were having our fourth baby girl... I had a feeling they were wrong so I didn't paint the nursery or really buy anything except for two things. If you know me you know that I like to jump the gun sometimes and am very impatient. This time I knew to wait. Obviously he is NOT a she by any means. A 3D sonogram at almost-30-weeks revealed what I knew in my heart - we were actually having a BOY!

I love how newborns hold their hands! He really was NOT a binky baby and had this in his mouth for all of a few seconds.

I think newborns are so precious; love this sweet face!

My three princesses and our new prince to dote on and spoil!!!

Growing and growing by leaps and bounds! He loved/loves holding his hands though he doesn't do it as much anymore.

Turning into a goofy kid who loves to make us all laugh!

He's yelling "tuh-dn!" (touchdown) and lifting his arms!

Eating birthday cake at his birthday party on Saturday! Yum, yum!!!

My little dummer boy, enjoying his special birthday celebration with close family. He took a few steps the day before his party but is really cautious and nervous about walking still. He's *so close*!

My Son,
My mom used to tell me I'd be a great mother to boys. I know she knew I'd be a great mother to girls, too! I think she teased me because I loved to 'hang out with the guys' and preferred male company. I do love being your mommy! You bring me such laughter and joy. We've had a lot of rough days and nights this last year but nothing we couldn't handle or overcome..

You keep me on my toes and I love your hugs! You are so super smart, too. I can see your mind working through how things work and then you try to figure it out with your hands. I love your curiosity and I especially love the look of wonder you give your daddy when you see him!

I pray that this next year goes by much slower so I can soak in these days. I tried so hard to make these moments and days count this year but they still slipped by so quickly.

I love you, Judah, my little lion! And I will always love you.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sanity Saving Items for Homeschool

Whether you homeschool or supplement your child's public education here is a list of products that I have used that have really help save me time and are helping to keep me organized. CLICK PHOTOS TO BE DIRECTED TO PURCHASE/VIEW!

Paper Cutter AKA Paper Guillotine - I actually use this for my work, too, so it is double awesome! Click the photo to go to the one I got on Amazon; it's a really nice one and had great reviews. So far I really like it and use it a lot!
Three-hole Punch - Need I say more?! Lots of papers to punch and file!

Scheduling Pocket Chart - This is more of a 'want' than a 'need' and mine just arrived. I need a schedule and routine or I lose focus, forget what needs to get done, etc. I have found this helps keep us on target so we can get work done AND still have time for fun. Before this I felt a little chaotic and felt like we dallied so long on one subject that we didn't get to touch other subjects. It would be 4:30 in the afternoon and Elaina will tell me, "Mom, we didn't do Social Studies today!!!" and demand we do it (it's her favorite subject). It's okay to take your time, it's okay to not do every single subject every single school day. What I mean is that this just helps us keep it all balanced.

Laser printer - I print a ton for school and for my business so a laser printer was in order. I saved up and finally got one a couple months ago.

White Erase Board - this is a new addition to the classroom after realizing I really needed and wanted one the first week of school. It has been a blessing to have!

Individual ones are awesome, too! The kids love to write on theirs. We store them on the fridge since they come with magnets you adhere to the back. Each has it's own pen with eraser on the marker cap.
Here are some fun things we've added over time.

Puzzle Map of the United States. This particular one is really large!

 Sorting Pie by Learning Resources

Well those are just a few of the things that we love or have made school a little easier, aside from lots of pencils, erasers and binders. For myself I keep record of credits/hours on the computer but during the day as we work I keep a binder filled with paper and I jot down notes and things. I don't really have a planner. While the schedule above helps me keep things together and I *love* planning... putting myself in too tight a box stresses me out. I don't write down anything like "The theme of the week is circles and the color orange" because then I think I have to do that and nothing else (it's ridiculous really but I really do stress like that!). So I find that we just naturally do things per the season, holidays, or what the kids are interested in.

What are your must-haves?! Share, share, share! I really want to know!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 2!

Last week we started homeschool! It's been very interesting and we definitely have our work cut out for us. Already I am seeing what needs tweaking and trying to make it all work so that everyone's needs are met. My next post will be a list and photos of products that have made my life easier as a homeschooling parent. For today I leave a bunch of pictures (which uploaded backward and I'm too tired to switch them around in this Blogger format).

Our classroom on a typical morning! Complete with infant-soon-to-be-toddler interrupting our spelling on the white board. We are using Sequential Spelling and I love it so much. It's easy for me to use and easy for Elaina to grasp spelling concepts without all the confusing rules (that will come later after she grasps the main concepts of -ed, -ing, -er, -s, -es, etc.). Highly recommend it for those who want to challenge their spellers OR have children struggling with spelling.

There is lots of this (and not just from him but everyone at some point!):

My lefty? He has favored his left hand for months now in fine and large motor functions! I'm left-handed so I thought it'd be cool to have at least one lefty.

In Social Studies we're using Bob Jones Heritage Series but the text is not very complete; it has to be supplemented. So the first few pages were about the globe (continents, mapping, compass rose, landforms and bodies of water). We started with the compass rose and my girls used their individual white boards to write their compasses from memory after our discussion! So proud of them, especially as Elaina got the diagonal directions correct as well. We're going to start learning about different types of landforms this week and from there move onto bodies of water, mapping and map keys.

The girls are also doing research projects on an historical figure of their choice. Elaina chose Helen Keller and Abigail chose George Washington!

In Science we are using Apologia books (I have three, starting with Anatomy). However, and this is where some tweaking came in. I had noticed that my girls were really into insects because we studied cicadas recently so we decided to do a big insect lesson for the first two weeks. Zoe made a book on insects. We looked at a slideshow on information on insects and then did a sorting project.

Nonna made bread pudding for breakfast. Rise-and-shine students!

First Day of School, sitting around the dining table. The Sorting Pie that Zoe has is from Amazon and is so much fun (even for me!). I highly recommend it whether you homeschool or not. Kids can use it independently and quietly!

I didn't post the picture of Elaina unhappily working on math so I'll just say - not really liking Singapore Math thus far but I think Elaina needs more challenge. I had her start on the book for 1st grade to reinforce some ideas but I think it is boring her which is making her act out and be uncooperative. We're going to try something else tomorrow.

We haven't really delved into a consistent routine with PE or Art or Music. I'm kind of overwhelmed with starting out so we're taking our time. If I get too ahead of myself I begin to feel defeated before I've even begun so we're going day-by-day. By midday or the end of the day I already know an idea of what we'll be doing the next day. I want to plan enough in advance so that if I get sick Daddy knows where we're at or at least create a "sub" folder for him.

We are planning a zoo field trip and a cave field trip with some family so that is going to be really fun! I want to visit a farm so we'll probably try to do that here in September or early October.