Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Here are the finished products, along with eye patches and earrings from the party store. AARRGHH!
We also made telescopes, or rather spy glasses. You could make them from a paper towel tube, but I had a sturdier carboard tube. We almost never got it cut though. We put plastic wrap over one end and colored the tube with crayons. Sweetheart didn't want to wait for paint to dry! We covered the plastic wrap end with colored paper and they were done. Don't you just love these natural poses? It's like I caught the action while it was happening, isn't it? Or not.
Have a great weekend, mateys!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
So, basically they only have $4,700 to spend on each student this year. Well, I realize that each child does not actually get that amount of money spent on them personally. There are teacher salaries to pay, new buildings to build, gas to buy for buses, and any other number of places the money goes.
But what if each child actually did have that amount of money spent on their personal education each year? Would that improve the quality of education? Would that ensure that each child would be successful? Would our schools then be so phenomenal that our students would graduate early and be extremely successful?
I think we all know that would not be the case. I realize that school districts must have money to do the task that they do, but there is so much more to a child's education than money. I know as homeschoolers we sometimes drool over curriculum fairs and sweat while walking through teacher supply stores or used book stores. OH the wonderful things we could do if only we owned x, y, or z. Imagine if you were given a check for $4,700 PER CHILD in your home this year earmarked purely for their education (and, OK lunch too). Imagine that! What would you run off and buy? What field trips would you plan? What extra-curricular things would you sign up for?
But today I am reminded of what matters most.
This year, we will buy what we need (used if possible). We will be creative and frugal and our children will learn. Because we know that money is not what creates a quality education. We have a library card. We have paper and pencils. We have Bibles. We have internet access. We have a few textbooks and workbooks. Most of all, we have time together at home.
No district, no budget, no amount of money spent....could invest in our children the way we do. Anyone agree?
But if I did have that money...I promise I would spend it very wisely! :) What would you do for your homeschool with that money?
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Little Bit was NOT happy. Sweetheart wasn't all that thrilled either. We had a talk on the way home last night about how things aren't always fair. I told them I agreed with them. If I was running the VBS, I would not give out things unless there was enough to go around. I really do hate that kind of thing. Only the aggressive, taller kids who happened to be sitting near the aisle had any chance of getting anything. It really wasn't fair. I sympathized with them, but reminded them that they did not need anything. It would be fine.
Little Bit just could not drop it. I'm still not sure if this is just part of her personality or part of her Tourette's but she can get stuck on something for quite a while. I finally pointed out that kids who brought visitors had been called forward and given a treat on the first night. Since she would be bringing her cousin the next day, that meant she would be called forward and given a treat too.
She talked about it several times today. "I hope I get a bear." "I hope I get a treat tonight." There were 190 kids there the first night and they threw out maybe 10 bears. The chances are not good. I told her so.
Well, my sister and I got there at the end of VBS tonight. Sweetheart held up the small bear she had caught to show me. Uh oh. Then, they called out the names of those who brought visitors. Sweetheart's name was called. Little Bit's was not. Double uh oh.
I went up to check on her and she was standing there absolutely drowning in tears. She looked stricken and no adults had noticed. I got her attention and she came to lay on my shoulder and cry. Her teacher saw us and asked what was wrong. I told her and she alerted the speaker who said, "she can come up too." But the damage was done. Her name had not been called. Wait, it gets worse.
So she goes forward to get her treat and it is a little orange pen on a necklace. Moose (my niece) goes up and gets one too even though her name was not called. When we get to my sister I notice that Little Bit's pen is broken. Sister offers to trade Moose's for the broken one since she wasn't supposed to have one in the first place. "Whew! Thanks!" I say.
We are driving home and Little Bit says her pen won't work. I tell her to give it to me and I'll show her how it works. It's tangled up in her seat belt and name tag. Sweetheart reaches over and jerks the pen to get it undone and breaks it. I tell her she must give her pen to Little Bit now that she broke her sister's. Now EVERYONE is crying (except me). "I didn't mean to Mama!" Sweetheart wails. "I didn't ask you to jerk it! I didn't ask you to do that!" I say. Little Bit just says, "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" It was a lovely ride home.
At a red light I think I have fixed the pen, then it flies apart again. These two stupid pieces of junk that cost probably 10 cents a piece are NOT WORTH IT! We are not going back to VBS tomorrow night, I say! And no one argued.
And then Little Bit noticed the stuffed bear her sister caught.
So, do you think I even know what Bible story they learned about tonight?
I'm sure there's a lesson in all of this but I really don't care what it is. Tomorrow we are staying home.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Here's a better shot of the desk area. That bulletin board is covered in my new favorite fabric. My sister made me the bulletin board years ago...I just recovered it and put the ribbon back on. I still need to put an outlet cover on and do some organizing on the desk and shelf--but I already love it.
Now just turn around and you'll see the laundry side of the utility room. In here I stained the cabinets and sewed a valance. Mostly, it just needed to be cleaned up so I could, you know, USE it. I love folding clothes on this counter top (the dryer is just behind you when you stand at that counter) so I really have to work hard to not clutter it up again. Thank you to whichever previous homeowner it was who added these hand-made cabinets at some point over the last 40 years.
And here is the other side of the laundry side of the room. I just love the results.
Now, about that pile of junk on the floor that interestingly enough didn't make it into the photos. Hmmm. I think Amy Wynn and Leslie would have people who take care of that kind of stuff.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Here is the other wall of the laundry room. I don't have "after" pictures of these but remember them. Because tomorrow you will be blown away with my home improvement talents.
And here is the other side of the utility room. See? I told you we threw everything in there. That's Gallon Gal on the wall. She's an excellent way to teach liquid measurement, by the way.
And here it is after I decluttered last year. I moved our camping table in for my sewing machine. Looking good, right?
That blue curtain on the right is a little cut-out that I stored extra clothes in. You can also see the closet without a door on the left. Here is the before...And the after...
So I thought this was really good enough. I mean, after all...it's a utility room for goodness sake. But then one fateful day last month I was sitting at the kitchen table and looked off into that room and had an inspiration. I had a dream...of having a place to pay bills and keep all my office supply stuff in one place. A dream where laundry, and sewing, and craft junk, and bills could all live peacefully in one little utility room.
Tomorrow I'll let you know how that came out.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
So today I took this quiz to see if I would make a good wife in the 1930's. I did surprising well on the quiz, so it must be terribly un-scientific. But some of the questions convicted me a bit.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
They may not even think they are being helpful, but I love reading "oh yeah, when my kids were that age..." because it reminds me that others have been here and I will get through this. When Sweetheart had to be retained in first grade a few years ago I was so upset. Being a former first grade teacher, I was SURE I could help her. When it became obvious she really did need to repeat, a mom whose children were all grown said to me, "Oh yeah, we retained Scott and it really helped him." She just said it so nonchalantly and it made me realize that this "horrible thing" in our lives was really just a bump on the road. One day I would look back and say, "yeah, we went through that too."
And Andrea let me know today that even moms who have been moms for a while, can still have a bad day. For some reason, since my kids are not babies anymore I thought I had to be all confident and handle everything smoothly. Since I'm not a "new" mom anymore and all...
Whew! I'm glad that's not true! And I learn so much from you more experienced moms--I really do. Even though I've been a wife for 15 years next month, a mom for 8 years, and a homemaker for one year (last weekend!).....I still feel SO new to all this. This being a full-time wife, a full-time mom, and a full-time homemaker.
I love reading how other people do things. Plus I'm nosy.
So blogging is awesome! I'm thankful for you all!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Both girls have been on auto-pilot for a long time regarding their morning routine, so those chores have been condensed into fewer steps and more helping around the house has been added. Also, somewhere along the way their afternoon chores got changed dramatically, with no really set chore per day...but the house got cleaned anyway.
Here are this summer's chores:
Sweetheart (Age 8)
1. Self-care (get dressed, brush hair, brush teeth, wash face)
2. Room-care (make bed, straighten room)
3. Fold clothes in dryer (from the night before)
4. Clean off side table in living room (junk collects there)
Little Bit (Age 4)
1. Get dressed/put pajamas away
2. Brush hair/teeth
3. Make bed/tidy bedroom
4. Dust one room with feather duster
Sweetheart (Age 8)
1. Tidy fireplace
2. Clean bathroom (pick trash/clothes off of floor, wipe down cabinet and sink)
3. Clean off/wipe dining room table
Little Bit (Age 4)
1. Clear off couch
2. Clean front room (there isn't much in there so it's mostly picking stuff up from the floor)
3. Pick up hallways (why is there always stuff in our hallways?)
We do plan to pay them for the afternoon chores. (I'm not paying my kids to brush their teeth, ok?) I'm not sure how much just yet, but payday will be on Fridays. The only catch is they are not allowed to spend the money yet. They have to learn to save for something they want so I'm going to help them do that.
They just finished their new morning chores and they did a great job! Now...mama has chores to do so I'm off!
Friday, June 13, 2008
We are wrapping up our first theme of the summer which was chosen by my 4 year old. It has been a very easy theme and that is good since we had a busy week. We didn't use all of the ideas my sister and I brainstormed due to all the busyness, but that is the beauty of these themes. You do what you have time for.
"MMM. This porridge is JUST RIGHT!" said Goldilocks.
For art, we made these cute little bear bags. All you need is a lunch sack, wadded up newspaper, a stapler, paint, and construction paper. You can also use googly eyes if you like. First, stuff the sack with the newspaper, fold down the top and paint the whole thing. We made brown bears, but you could make any kind. After the paint dries, add ears, eyes, a nose and mouth. Aren't they cute?
My sister also made these circle bears with her girls. She's such an over-achiever.
For math, have the kids sort the bear collection by different characteristics. You can also do Gummy Bear math by sorting, making patterns, counting, and graphing the different colors. We intended to do this, but ran out of time.
The only "schoolish" type thing we did was color and make these Itsy Bitsy Bear Books. This required us to open up at least one non-fiction bear book. We learned a lot about the different types of bears and it was very enjoyable.
Other possible activities:
- Jumprope rhyme "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear."
- Have a teddy bear picnic with a tea set and stuffed animals. Serve honey on bread. (We plan to do this later today!)
- Look up the history of teddy bears on the internet (Sweetheart and I did this)
Famous bears to think about when doing a bear theme:
- Berenstein Bears
- Paddington Bear
We read many, many bear books this week, but the award winner was.....
Deep in the Forest--this wordless picture book tells the story of three people who go for a walk in the woods and a naughty baby bear who visits their house while they are away. Precious!
We had a great time with bears this week. Look for the next Summer Theme-A-Week post next Friday. Have a great weekend!