Saturday, January 25, 2014

January Blahs

It happens every year. I could probably go back to most of my blog posts in January and it is the same thing. January and part of February are months that I wish I could just become a bear and hibernate. Depression rears its ugly head when I am not able to get sunshine and get out and walk. I LOVE to walk. We have been going to the mall a few times a week to walk but somehow the fluorescent lighting has the opposite affect that the sunshine does for me.

Trying to keep things positive while homeschooling can be challenging too when you have children that thrive with being able to be outside exploring. As cold as it is currently where we live some snow to play in would be a welcome sight also as well as a fun potential weather lesson.*ducking*  I know that a lot of the country has been blasted with excessive snow but we have only been blasted with frigid temperatures where even the dog does not want to go outside.

This leaves me with contemplating ideas to lift my own spirit and everyone having to spend so much time inside. Here is a list I have come up with-

1. Try some new recipes. Here are some that I have made this week that we LOVED!

2. Read some good books. Right now I am multitasking and reading both-

3. We've dusted off the Wii as the kids and I haven't played it in a long time and we have been bowling. (oh and Z~girl is an amazing boxer with it) We even brought it over to the inlaws and grandma seems to really enjoy the bowling. Grandpa? He is healing from shoulder surgery on his rotator cuff that was totally destroyed from moving. 

4. Something I want to do is start an art journal and doodle daily. I LOVE to draw...but never do it anymore. If I ever start it is always so therapeutic for me. 

5. Also this year I bought a chronological Bible that I have been working my way through. Honestly I have not read the Bible all the way through since college and I thought this would be a neat way to do it. 


A question for any of my outdoorsy friends...How do you get through the gloomy months of winter with a smile on your face?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tell me I'm not the only one!

Early this month I laid out the month for our homeschool daily work. Last fall I found a handy dandy way to keep track of attendance, lessons, and tests. One problem I am finding is that often we do not do gradable lessons and I do not do "tests". (well except for the ones Z~girl has at Time4Learning) How do I grade that? We work on learning goals until they are learned and for A~man that also includes LOTS of review on past goals. 

Oh, and planning activities for certain days? That totally went out the window. I would do better to write a list for the month of goals and plow through it as we get to it, without worrying that it was done on Wednesday morning and not Tuesday evening. This is no longer a kindergarten science curricululm we are talking about and I know in a couple short years I am going to really need to document Z~girl's eventual high school work if she wants to go to college. 

"Grades" are not essential to A~man's learning but still I like to document the skills he learns so I can build on them. With his developmental delays, to homeschool ADD/ADHD issues demands a whole different approach than his sister requires. 

When I start worrying about documenting things like grades I always feel like I am losing sight on what homeschooling truly means to our family. For us it is to allow both children to learn in a creative, open, and sometimes unstructured way as that is how both of them learn best. A~man needs a certain amount of routine, especially with meal times and special events, but I find the best learning days come on relaxed days when I'm not saying "we have to finish this now!"

I guess that is why we are definitely eclectic relaxed homeschoolers! It works for us.


Last, but not least, are some pictures I took of the matchbox swaps we received in the mail. Both kids were absolutely tickled! Z~girl's was the artist Seurat who she loves and A~man's box contained an art museum of sorts with games and puzzles. It's truly amazing what learning you can fit into such small boxes!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Homeschool artist matchbox swap!

This was such a neat concept that when I heard about the group we just had to participate! Each month there is a new topic and you decorate a matchbox to that theme and include things into the box that go along with the topic. Then you mail it to another participant. This month was "Famous Artists" and we picked Vincent van Gogh.

The kids included an ear that they had made out of clay (heehee) a sunflower, jokes, and a write up about the famous artist. I had some confusion (should have read the directions better!) about what size of matchbox. So uhhhh we ended up a little big even though now I realize typically they use the small matchboxes. I was relieved to hear from the mom leading it that she sometimes used big boxes too. 

They had fun trying to recreate classics from a Vincent van Gogh coloring book we had. A~man chose The Bedroom and also a self portrait after he had cut his ear off. 

Z~girl chose a different self portrait and also Starry Night to decorate her box. (which is one of my favorites)

They had an absolute blast painting and decorating the boxes!

I will have to do a follow up post of the boxes that they received. Z~girl already got hers and was happy to discover that it was done about one of her favorite artists from some art games she has done. Also she ended up exchanging hers with one of her local homeschool friends which was pretty cool. Her friend did an amazing job but I will share those pictures after A~man receives his box. 

I'm totally treasuring activities like these... hoping they will keep enjoying learning like this for awhile. Before I know it Z~girl will be doing SAT games. I am so not ready for that chapter of homeschooling!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January Begins!

We have been schooling very lightly the last couple of weeks and I had big plans at the end of last week to plan our goals for the kids for January. In walks a very nasty cold halting any type of progress. Thankfully it only lasted 4 miserable days which I am thankful for as sometimes in the winter they last weeks for me. Also so far no one else has gotten it.

But...after feeling icky off and on the last month or more with this and that I have decided to do a fast for the next few weeks that my friend Amber over at Adventures in Mindful Living told me about. (check out her blog for awesomely healthy recipes!) It's called a Daniel fast and it is predominantly Bible based (the book of Daniel ;) but the food part specifies no meat, dairy, sugar (except for fruit), artificial ingredients and only drinking water. Basically vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, etc. I like all the foods struggle physically will be with the no coffee and no cheese. My two weaknesses. I'm not sure if I will blog much about it as it is a little more personal but I am hopeful about making some spiritual and physical changes.

Tomorrow will be a teacher work day so I can plan out the next month for their school goals. Z~girl's main ones...are getting a jump on her math and also getting her writing homework help. She has such a great imagination but has a difficult time putting it down on paper. (or the screen) She is a major perfectionist and struggles with not wanting to ever make a mistake. Hopefully in between planning though we can make a ginger bread house that didn't manage to get made, (did I ever mention the pumpkin we carved a month late this year?)but I guess better late than never. I also found some fun 2 player games that I think both kids would enjoy doing together.