Saturday, November 17, 2012

As promised :-)

HAHA!  I'm actually sticking to my promise (which is amazing as what I really SHOULD be doing right now is finding all my valuables ornaments and putting them in there original boxes so I can start on other PCSing jobs hehehe)

And I have some questions for all you homeschooling ladies out there in blogger land.
 What curriculums are you using with your children?
What are the benifits of those curriculums?
Are there any that you would like to try but haven't yet?

You see, I've run into a problem!  My beautiful Bug is progressing a tad bit to fast.  We had been working on a combination prek/k4 curriculum that was FANTASTIC (thanks to Confessions of a Homeschooler) but now my little 2.5yr old has mastered all of the letters/site words/numbers/math problems/phonics ect in the curriculum.  Please don't ask me how I did this, because I didn't.  My daughter is loving homeschool and wants to do her work (most of the time) and has somehow managed to zip right through everything.  After giving her a kindergarten readiness test I'm pretty certain that accademically she's ready for a kindergarten curriculum but physically she's not.  Her fine motor skills are normal for her age, same for large muscle groups, emotions ect.  It's only the accademics that I need but I've also noticed that a lot of the things done with kindergartens require them to have really good fine motor skills.
So how do I combine kindergarten academics with a 2.5yr olds fine motor skills? 

Any help would be much appreciated!   Also does anyone have any information or opinions on getting young children tested to see if they are gifted?  Hubby and I have been bouncing the idea around with how fast she's progressing and just aren't sure whether it would be helpful or a hindrance later in life ya know?

Thankyou my blogger friends :-)

Oh PCSing how I love thee...

So it's been a while since I last posted but you'll have to forgive me!  We've had a busy month and it's only going to get busier over the next few months.

As some of you know I'm a military spouse (and brat)  My father retired as a MSgt in the USAF when I was 18, my step mum is active duty still and my Husband is a SSgt in the USAF!  Not to mention a sister who goes to boot camp soon, a Navy uncle and a brother in law who is Army Reserves!  So obviously we have very strong military ties in our family lol!

Anyway in January we will be moving on to a new base and leaving the beautiful island of Okinawa behind.  It's been a fantastic 3 years with 2 new babies and a lot of adventures and I will be really sad to leave such a fantastic culture!  But as with all things there is a HUGE silver lining.  We'll be moving to North Carolina to be 3hrs from my Mum, 8 hrs from my Dad and 10hrs from the hubbys family!!  For those of you who've always lived near your family this may not seem like such a big deal but we've never lived near enough to really see ours very often.  My hubbys family has only seen Bug 2 times in her life and still hasn't met Mr Man.  My Dad has only seen Bug twice but he did meet Mr Man when he was still teeny.  My Mum got to spend lots of time with them while I was there to give birth (loooooong story, maybe I'll share another time)  but it still feels like they miss out on seeing family when we're so, so far away from them.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change my life for the world and I really hope that in a few years we can be stationed overseas again (maybe Italy next time??) but there are some drawbacks!

Anyway I promise tomorrow I will post something thought provoking (or at least SOMETHING!)

Until then :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Two new words!

I'm so proud of my little bug!  During our lesson yesterday she sounded out her first words.  She figured out Up and Pup all by herself!  The look of pride on her face was just amazing...and that's what's homeschooling is all about :-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

How exausting!

Mr Man NOT sleeping at 4am!
It's funny that I'm starting to feel like the mother of a newborn again!  For some reason dear Mr Man has begun waking up at all hours of the night again (for instance last night was midnight, 2am and then 4am he decided it was morning) and it's got me running on near empty.  Between him, Bug and her schooling, the housework, my bible study and trying to get myself back into some shape other than lumpy I am just flat out exhausted so forgive me if my blogs begin to take on that tone you get when you haven't slept in a week lol!

Miss Bug is really starting to excel in her fine motor skills and her letters are becoming more and more recognizable which is really exciting for both of us!  Even her Daddy could read her name when she copied it yesterday (we're still tracing at the moment but I think we'll be starting to try and write from memory in a few weeks when she feels a bit more successful)  We're also starting the "Teach You Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day" method by Sidney Ledson today.  I've read through the book and it does seem like it could be an approach that works for us, especially since she gets to be in charge of Teddy or Dollys education as well which I think she'll get a HUGE kick out of!  I'll keep you posted on how it works out for us and hopefully I'll be able to recommend it :-)

My little Princess :-)
Bug is also offically in the "princess" phase.  She would not leave the house last week without a beautiful dress, her princess shoes, princess hat and princess necklace!  It's extremely adorable but I also don't want to encourage the usual things like vanity that go along with Princess behavior so I bought her Veggitales "The Penniless Princess" which is an incredibly cute movie that is based on "The Little Princess" which used to be my favorite movie as a little girl. I love, Love, LOVE it!  Even I was singing along to it and enjoying the story which isn't actually surprising as I seem to do that with all the Veggitales shows.

Sadly her potty training is at a stand still.  We've got peeing in the potty down and no issues there.  We've only had one accident in the past 3 weeks BUT she can't seem to figure out pooing in the potty!  Does anyone out there have any tips on how to combat this?!?  I feel like we're never going to get past this point but I also know that there is no way she'll go to college in diapers *sigh* 

Todays craft - Stringing some fall leaves made out of construction paper on to string to make a beautiful fall ceiling decoration (got the idea from Enchanted Learning which is a fantastic resource!)

Have a Blessed Day and send me those potty training tips!  Please?!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

How do I teach my 2.5 year old?

That was a question posed to me yesterday by a friend of mine and it got me thinking I guess.  I remember feeling the same way she currently does at the beginning when Bug and I were going Head to Head and not making any progress other than to frustrate one another.  So here is a schedule for a typical day in our household now that homeschooling has FINALLY become something wonderful (hopefully it helps you dear friend who shall remain nameless)

5am - I get up and dressed and start prepping for our day (laundry goes on, dishwasher unloaded, school work out)

7am - Toddler gets up, dressed and eats breakfast

8am - Daily Notebook (we got ours from Confessions of a Homeschooler)  It contains not just the PreK daily Notebook but also some handwritting practice, site word practice and counting practice.  Suprisingly my daughter LOVES this part of the day.  I give her a dry erase marker and she sits and works at those pages for a good 30min before her attention span finally starts to fail her!

8:30am - Large Muscle Groups!  For this we pick an activity that involves movement and LOTS of it!  Sometimes we put on some music and just dance like lunatics, other times we play hopscotch, we also play Red Light, Green Light, Simon Says or Head Shoulders, Knees and Toes.  This is a great time to get them to expel a TON of energy while also working on following directions :-)

9am - Free Play.  This is an important part of a toddlers day!  They learn so much from just playing!

10am - Craft Time!  I'm a big believer in an education full of the arts for all children.  Their are so many studies showing what a benefit it is to them that I can't believe our public schools seem to be doing away with them.  I normally make sure the craft is set up the night before and normally it correlates with whatever our theme is that week.  We do a LOT of glueing, painting, colouring and play dough.  I also try and make sure that at some point during the craft my daughter needs to count or write something to work on her math and fine motor skills.

11am - Cooking Time.  We get in the kitchen together and we make a mess lol.  Really she is getting very helpful and helps make lunch with me everyday.  She especially likes to use a spoon to spread peanut butter on bread for her sandwiches and count out raisins for her plate.

11:30am - Family Meal Time.  Even Daddy comes home for lunch and sits with us which is such a blessing!  This really does help to get Bug to eat her veggies and attempt conversation.

12:00pm - TV time.  Bug gets 1 show at this time.  She gets the options of Signing Time, Veggitales, Sesame Street and Leap Frog.  We don't allow non educational TV during the week unless we're having family movie time and heck she LOVES her Signing time (she has learned over 500 signs now and uses them regularly!)

12:30pm - Reading Time.  Bug and I sit down and read for 30min.  During this time we discuss the stories we're reading and the pictures etc.  If she's feeling particularly hyper I have her act out parts of the book we're reading for example "Bug, can you walk like the Dinosaur!" I think this is actually one of her favorite parts of the day :-)

1pm - Tidy Bugs Room time!  Definately not one of her favorite parts of the day but I make her tidy it anyway (with a little bit of Mommy help)

1:30pm - NAP TIME!  (this is when I finally get things done!)

3:30pm - Game Time.  We have a whole list of games we play with varying success with Bug.  They are all very, very simple games designed to reinforce alphabet and number recognition while also teaching turn taking.

3pm - Free Play or crafting depending on Bugs mood that day

4:30pm we start up the music and she helps tidy the kitchen (putting the plastic containers away and the non sharps in the silverware drawer)

5pm - Free Play which normally ends up being her playing at the fridge with her leapfrog word builder toy while I start up dinner

6pm - Family Dinner where Daddy asks her questions about her day :-)

6:30pm - Play time with Daddy

7pm - Bath time followed by PJs, a book, a song and bed!

This schedule probably wouldn't work for every child but it does work for mine.  Remember all kids are different and you've gotta be FLEXIBLE!  One of my tricks is for each activity I offer choices.  I can even offer them while she does her Daily Learning Notebook by letting her pick what order to do it in and what colour marker she wants to use that day.  I learned very early on that if I'm inflexible she will be too and then we just end up with stubborn Mom and stubborn Toddler going head to head!!  Not exactly helpful!  Also on certain days we have outside activities.  For instance Tuesdays we got to PWOC so Sadie gets to hang out with her friend in the PCOC rooms and I get to go off and do my Bible Studies.  This cancels out half of our morning routine but we still get our Daily Learning Notebook done we just do it before or after PWOC.  On Thusdays we do the grocery shop which also takes about 2 hrs from our regular schedule.  This has turned into a great learning activity though as the night before I print a list for Bug with pictures and words of some of the things we need (for instance if we need 2 cartons of milk I'll put two simple pictures of milk cartons followed by the word Milk).  All of a sudden she actually LIKES grocery shopping!!

I do hope you all experience the successes I have beginning homeschooling.  The first few weeks were difficult and sometimes made me want to give up but once I figured out the things that worked for us it started to become wonderful :-)

I've also had to deal with a lot of negativity around starting my daughter on a cirriculum at such a young age but the fact is that we don't do anything that SHE is not ready for.  Every kid is different and they'll all be ready for things in there own time.  Just like some 12 month olds are ready for potty training while some 3 years olds are just getting there, it's the same thing with teaching your children.

What are your favorite homeschooling tricks?  What does your schedule look like?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oh Coffee, how I love thee...

3am wake ups just don't make for a good start to the morning.  It wouldn't be so bad apart from the fact that Mr Man stays awake just long enough to make it pointless for me to go back to sleep.  So here I am at 4:45am and I would like to share the silver lining.

Yes, I was up at 3am today BUT it is now 5am and I have...taken a shower, run the dishes, fed the baby (of course teehee), caught up on some blogs I'm following, set up Lady Bugs activities for the day and I still have 2 hours before the 2 year old will be up :-)

So now I'm going to sit and sip my first cup of coffee of the morning and enjoy the serenity while I can!

What do you do when faced with an early morning that you don't necessarily want?

The Grass is Always Greener...

Do you ever find yourself wishing for your child to hurry along to the next milestone, whether it be crawling, or walking, riding a bike, reading independently or any number of other big events in a childs life?

I found myself doing just that today.  It was one of those days where my 3 month old was cranky for no apparent reason (although I think I suspect teething) and by this evening had worked himself into a state and WOULD NOT let us put him down.  He wouldn't sleep, he wouldn't eat, he wouldn't even calm down in the bath.  The only thing that would calm him was me popping him on my shoulder and walking from room to room while patting his back and singing to him.  This was absolutely fine for the first two hours.  On came hour three and my nerves really started to fray and I found myself thinking terrible thoughts about his Daddy who was upstairs playing a video game and wishing for that milestone in the future where baby finally has a set schedule and sleeps through the night.  Then I went on to think of how much easier he will be when he can finally crawl around and entertain himself so I can have my hands back (which this I know for a fact is a lie LOL!  I've already had one crawler and the moment she started I was trying to figure out why I ever wanted her to crawl in the first place!  I claim temporary insanity due to crying baby!)

Finally my Mr Man decided he wanted to nurse and fell asleep peacefully in my arms.  Looking down at his now angelic face I had a reality check.  This phase of his life is so, so short.  It passes in the blink of an eye and here I am wishing it away!  Why on earth would I do that?  The day I found I was pregnant with him I swore to myself that I was going to cherish every single minute because I felt cheated by my Bug growing up as fast as she seemed to.  Now I find myself wishing for him to hurry and grow up?!    Really?!?!

So I'm challenging myself to meditate on Psalm 118:24 "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."  for the next few days.  I am so very blessed to have such a wonderful family and to serve our family better I need to start thinking more positive thoughts even with a screaming baby in one arm and a crying 2 year old in the other.

Do you have a Bible Verse that your meditating on right now?  Tell me about it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Craft of the Day

This week we've been reading very hungry caterpillar and learning about our colors and numbers through reading.  Today little Bug and I got out the homemade glue and construction paper and did some fantastic gluing, counting and matching!

 One Apple...
 Two Pears and 3 plums,
 On to our writting/letter practice!
 Check out those awesome Bs my 2.5 year old is creating!  (worksheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
 A lunch which I had to quickly snap a picture of.  Delicious peanut butter sandwich on Rudis Organic Honey Sweet Whole Wheat bread cut into a butterfly, unsweetened organic applesauce and still frozen peas (what can I say?  My daughter only likes her peas frozen lol)
The finished dry product!  She did a fantastic job putting the labels on the right fruits!

I'm thinking that was a very successful day in home preschool :-)