Saturday, March 31, 2012

Homeschooling 2012-2013

We have finally made the decision to not re-enroll Elaina at her school next year. A lot of factors contributed to our decision and none were based solely on the school itself. It's actually a precious school and part of me is really sad to say goodbye. I might talk later about our reasons. Ultimately we have to do what is best for our family and after much debate we will be having our own Preschool (Zoƫ; still a little young but she is SMART and ornery and needs some structure), Kindergarten (Abigail) and Second-grade (Elaina) right at home.

I've already begun transforming our parlor, dining room and foyer to accommodate our schooling needs. These are the three rooms to the front of our home where the most sunshine comes in and we have everything we need between the rooms. One day, if we ever move, I'd love to have an actual classroom!

So far I've been stocking up on binders, notebooks, pencils and have been building up our collection of blocks and manipulatives and puzzles. I've also found an amazing website called www.teacherspayteachers.com where I can find freebies or pay a small fee for lesson plans created by teachers. I've downloaded and printed off several and have them laminated and filed into a file box I created.

We're going to a curriculum sale on Friday to see if we can find the curricula we're interested in. Here is what we're hoping to use unless something else catches our eyes:

Science - Apologia (girls voted and want to do Anatomy first)
History - Mystery of History (friend let us borrow this so we already have it)
Reading/Grammar - Explode the Code
Handwriting - Still undecided but did find Elaina a cursive notebook
Math - MathUSee or Saxon

You can see we're still up in the air. While we will do curriculum-based learning I find that balance is so very important so we'll also be doing a lot of day trips, joining a homeschooling group, doing a lot of exploration and play. There will be times school feels very Montessori-ish and other times it may feel very Classical. Right now I am just open to see how we all do and what is best for us.

I love the versatility in homeschooling. Our class is small and I know my children better than anyone so I can help meet their needs. Work hours are much shorter which frees up a ton of time for kiddos to be kids. I don't have to worry about where my kids are or what they're doing or what exactly is being taught or about unnecessary peer pressure. They can help build their own atmosphere of learning without distraction of peer influence and still gain friends through field trips and taking classes (like dance).

I was worried about the social aspect and of course I don't want to put my kids in a bubble, so don't misunderstand me. I ended up stumbling upon a couple of great articles that actually made me a lot more open-minded to homeschooling and the myth that children are socialized in school. I'll probably write my own post on the topic in the future, once we've gotten our toes wet. Visit HERE and HERE.

I realize not everyone agrees on this particular subject, or many subjects I have written about here, but this is what will be best for us. Elaina has struggled since starting school two years ago physically and emotionally and even spiritually. She is beyond excited to start homeschool. We definitely let her talk with us about it and how she felt about it. She is all on board.

And me? Before enrolling Elaina at her school I was kind of doing a homeschool. I know it's not easy and it is a lot of work (if you unschool I don't think it's as much work but for how we're *planning on doing our school it will be work). And I've struggled and fought God on this subject because it interrupts MY plans. But I'm to a place where I'm willing and ready to lay aside the desires of my heart for a season in order to make sure my daughters (and son!) are brought up in the way they should go so they will not easily depart from it. I'm ready. I'm ready!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Judah is 6 Months

Life is but a vapor, isn't it?! Judah turned 6-months-old on Sunday (and Abigail turned 5-years-old on Saturday). We're still breastfeeding and bedsharing and cloth diapering. Just tonight Daniel went to get lumber and items to build me a clothesline for our backyard! I'm so flipping excited. Amazing what excites us as we age. A clothesline?! I must get pictures of my cloth diapers drying in the sunshine!

Let the boy try some banana and he loved it! It's so soft I didn't worry about pureeing it. He just liked suckling on it. If I took it away he'd about lunge out of my arms for it!

 St. Paddy's Day 2012

My Lucky Charm on St. Paddy's Day!

6-months-old! Finally able to enjoy the outdoors without a coat or jacket!

Scooting all over the house and if you can tell by this pic - he's moving backward!

He's a thumb and finger sucker! 

Enjoying the beautiful weather in his rockin' cloth diapers and Hazelwood necklace. 

 I love profile shots! He was watching our crazy dog running around. 

And a sleeping shot! Babies are too sweet when snoozing.

So a ton has been going on in our neck of the woods and I'm dreadfully behind on blogging. Don't give up hope on me yet, friends! I'm still here and reading other blogs and trying to get back into the swing of it. Miss blogging dearly and I've found many new ones that I am so blessed by. 

I cannot believe half a year has already gone by since Judah joined us! He's getting up on his knees and rocking. He can kind of sit by himself (still falls over after awhile). He really wants our food. He can roll over and scoot himself backward throughout the house. He loves noisy, bright toys and objects. Daddy's XBOX controller thrills him, especially when the light on it is lit.

FIVE

Abigail, you are my sweet little encourager. I cannot believe you are five-years-old now. Five years ago I held this chubby, round-faced baby and couldn't believe she was mine! Your eyes are as dark as chocolate and your once-curly hair is now mostly straight with a little bit of wave. You still have round cheeks but they're starting to slim out as you grow into an older child.

Mommy loves you! I love how you come to me, when you know I'm angry, and you pat my hair, tell me I'm beautiful and giggle. You cheer the hurting soul with your love! And of course you do this whether someone is upset or not. You're not afraid to point out the beautiful, the wonderful and make sure they know it.

You have a very unique sense of fashion - and I love that about you. Don't ever change! But do, please, be modest as you grow, young daughter. And yes, my daughters wore this to church. I love (safe) self expression!

You are such a goof and your laugh is contagious! Your voice is soft and sweet, like a pixie or princess.

You hate your hair being messed with, hate being woken up, hate vegetables (hey, we're working on it!) but you love chocolate (gee, wonder who you get that from) and you love PURPLE. You are such a girly-girl. If it sparkles, if it is a girly color, if it is a unicorn or rainbow, if it is a skirt or snazzy pair of shoes - you're ALL over it!

Five-years-old
Like I said - rainbows and purple! your smile is absolutely beautiful!

Your fourth year was full of many firsts - you started preschool, you got a brother, you learned to write your name... you are growing oh-so-fast my little one!

You are one of many daughters but you are special, unique and confident. You are not lost amongst the others. Do not lose the precious values that make you who you are. Do not stop being inquisitive, being loving and nurturing, do not stop being an encouragement to the hurting, do not stop being outspoken and wearing your outrageously awesome outfits. There is not another Abigail in the world, not one like you. And you do not need to change who you are for anyone. You are perfect as you are. 

Happy 5th Birthday, Abby!

Love, Mommy