Thursday, February 20, 2014

Little Toot

What do you do when Mama says, "Stay on the hard floor to eat your muffin. Don't get on the carpet"?

Well of course you go stand right on the edge. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In Which We Try to Undo Sloppy Habits

Yesterday I was asking and wondering about instilling good character qualities in our children. I posted on a Facebook group I am in about what resources there are to use for character training. Boy, I got a lot of responses! I'm going to be going through those and posting the ones I find interesting on here a bit later. As soon as I have time to look up all the links. Sounds like a good summer school study, don't you think? I could incorporate reading (books and stories about characters with, possibly writing, and maybe even some good old movie watching could be involved.
We rode the ferry Saturday. Free and fun!

S and I talked about this over the weekend. He and I were trying to remember when we started to "take over" doing things of our own initiative. It was hard to remember. The reason? Because we did things because we had to do them. There was no choice. You came home from school, you got a snack and immediately started on homework. You did the dishes after supper and when everything was done, your time was your own. For him, that meant going outside to play basketball. He was motivated to get finished with his responsibilities before it was pitch black outside.

So we decided that's how things needed to be around here. Playing will happen when you are done with everything else. Now we did take recess yesterday at 10am like we are supposed to. The girls and I all went on a 30 minute bike ride. So it's not like they didn't get a break.
Bee was really excited to be on a boat. Little Bit loved watching the birds. 

Before breakfast I expected them to be up, dressed, hair fixed, and bed made. And their pajamas put away. They were already frustrated with me before we even ate. Then, before school they had to clean up their breakfast, brush their teeth and have anything else done that needed doing. It made the whole day run smoother. 

I know you're thinking....Brenda...this is not revolutionary news. I agree. I was trying to think how we even got into sloppy habits like the girls not making their beds in the mornings. I always make our bed. I always had to make my bed before school growing up.
Did a little rearranging this weekend. Surprised? Now Little Bit has her own desk. She's happy. She has to have things neat.

I believe it began with a pregnancy test. That year I was pregnant with Baby Bee...whew! Mama was tired. We did the basics. Then, of course, I had a newborn. The girls had to be pretty independent for a while there. They got breakfast themselves, they took breaks when they wanted to (I was sleeping or busy with a baby so I didn't fuss). All that to say, I think they slipped into some sloppy habits over the last few years.

So I am staying on them about picking up after themselves at every turn. I will insist responsibilities be finished before playtime. They're going to love me.
Now everyone has somewhere to work. 
This girl sits across from me now. 

But I think it will go a long way towards them looking like responsible people. And perhaps those habits are what turn you into a responsible person down the road?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dreaming and a Question

Can I go to work today, please?

Can I just drop the kids off with someone else, get in my car by myself and go sit in a quiet little office and work on the computer and file things and copy things? Please?

It really sounds nice today.

Instead, today I must handle a crazy (albeit cute) fit-pitching toddler, educate a 10 year old, and nag a 14 year old to death.

I am very grateful to be home with my kids! I know I am blessed. Just not looking forward to today. Is that OK?

Now I have a question. How do you instill character qualities into your children? I can make my kids do things, but how do I ensure they develop the character quality that will help them to do the things they need to do even when I'm not standing there making them?

I think it's initiative I need to instill. Plus self-control, attentiveness, diligence, responsibility, thoroughness, and dependability. Yeah, how do I instill those things?

Is learning about them enough? Does memorizing the definitions of  the character qualities produce them in your children? Certainly it would help them in recognizing good character vs. poor character. It's been a few years since we really studies character traits. Perhaps it's time again.

But will that do it? When does this transfer take place? When can I expect them to do what they know needs to be done without my direct involvement or a command?

Friday, February 14, 2014

I'm Either a Really Great Crafter or a Great Pinner

Can't take credit for any of the ideas. Every single one was either inspired or copied straight off of Pinterest! How I love Pinterest! In the olden days I would have had to flip through old magazines for inspiration.

Wow there's a lot of pink in this post.

Baby Bee loved passing out Valentines. And getting candy.

Bee's shirt was just 2 hearts put on with Wonder Under. And some heart pants we got somewhere. 

Of course a bird shirt for Little Bit. She loves birds. 

Little Bit's balloon was fragile and fell apart during the party. But it worked well. 

She made her own shirt. It's very light and subtle but it was just a doily used as a stencil. 

Sweetheart's box won a prize. A few years ago she was absolutely heart broken when another robot box beat hers out. She was excited to win yesterday (and to eat the pretzel she got from the snack bar!) but it amazed me the difference in her reaction compared to a few years ago. Sometimes maturing happens very gradually and we don't always notice it's been going on!

We had a great time at the party and no one broke any bones. Success!!

Now tonight we are going to have a special dinner on our china and celebrate Valentine's Day together as a family. I think that's fun. I wish more people just celebrated together instead of making it strictly about couples. It hurts a lot of people.

Having said that, S and I do plan to do something special together. Just not tonight. Restaurants are going to be really crowded tonight! Date nights are important and time as a couple is important too.

Off to wrap up the school week, get the grocery shopping done, and finish cleaning up the house for our special dinner! Busy day!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine Boxes

I made sure to take pictures of our Valentine boxes this year but then realized I didn't take any with the girls holding their box.

And THAT'S what I want to remember. How they looked and how proud they were of their box! So I will take those before we leave for our skating party today. But here they are:

Little Bit's Lalaloopsy hot air balloon. Got the basket from Grandma. Bought the doilies and washi tape and balloon but some of those things served double duty for the shirts we made. 

Of course this one is Baby Bee's! Made from a cereal box wrapped in upside down Christmas wrapping paper, painted, construction paper, duct tape. Free.

Sweetheart's cupcake. Bought a paint bucket for $2 at the hardware store. Used a balloon we bought for Little Bit's box and bought tissue paper. Not too bad.

All boxes inspired or copied straight from Pinterest. Thank you Pinterest! They also worked hard on their Valentines. Bee painted 6 pieces of paper and I printed the To and From on top of the painting and cut each sheet up into 9 cards. 

Working hard!!!
Dollar store stickers add the finishing touch. Total cost: $1

And Little Bit opted to do part store-bought and part homemade.

And Sweetheart made all hers from an idea in her American Girl magazine. Will have to get a picture of hers later.

I'm very proud of all the girls for their hard work! And we made Valentine shirts! I'll get pics of those later too!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Checklists and Accountability

I've never had the girls turn work in, so to speak, in our homeschool. For the most part, we've sat around the table together doing the work and I knew how they were doing. As Sweetheart has gained more independence, being in 8th grade and all, I'm less on top of her day.

As a result, even though I have them hilite what they have finished in their planners, I'm still not keeping tabs of her work well enough. So yesterday I went and bought one of these:

This is the "in box". Instead of putting things back on the shelf or in a binder, work I need to look at will go in here.

In addition, I made a checklist for my 8th grader so she could systematically go down the line and make sure she has turned everything in. Also, to give accountability for things that need to be done, but cannot be turned in.

This form may need some tweaking, but we're going to start using it today. I put funny pictures and captions on the back of each form and had way too much fun doing it. Hey, we don't have TV, OK?

And I was only kidding about the extra chores if she didn't do a subject up there on the form. We'll see how carefully she's reading!

The only other thing I would like to do as far as organization goes probably won't happen. I long for those rainbow drawers I see at Mardel all the time. They can be had cheaper elsewhere.

I wouldn't use them as workboxes really. I just love the thought of having each subject in it's own drawer instead of jumbled up and falling over on the shelves.

But reality says Baby Bee would also love those drawers so they probably won't happen right now. If we had a closet I could lock up top that would be perfect but we don't.

Our night 'o homework seemed to have an impact because little girls got with it yesterday in school and actually finished early! Well, OK, mama's throat hurt so we couldn't do some of the things that required me reading out loud. But today I have throat spray so no excuses!

Here's to a really organized Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Two Hours Late

That's how our day is starting...

I woke up and got S's breakfast ready like usual and then I went back to bed. I can feel all this sinus junk starting and I figured I better rest up a bit while Baby Bee was sleeping. I trusted S to wake up Sweetheart as agreed upon but...

So. We adjust. She'll do the 4 most important exercises in her PT regimen and then move on to school.

Now let's talk about homework. We had some last night. I gave Sweetheart an hour to do math and she didn't finish. Truth is she completely didn't understand the lesson and yet never once came to ask for help during the school day. And Little Bit didn't even get to math yesterday, which is rare.

They were both feeling really sorry for themselves all through dinner. So I took a little Facebook quiz for them and lo and behold! So many of their friends had homework too! Imagine that! S gave a wonderful and calm lecture during dinner about how life was when he was in school. I love his lectures. Makes me feel like I'm not the only one telling them these things all day long.

Then I helped Little Bit with math and got Bee bathed. S helped Sweetheart with math. It's painful watching someone else go through what I have been doing for years. Painful, but reassuring. (Look! Other people get frustrated too!)

Oh I remember my parents helping me with homework. I really don't think I would have wanted to be homeschooled.

Today is supposed to be our glorious ***stay home day***!!! (Angels singing while you read that) BUT...we have no groceries. Sigh. So before lunch a run to the store is in order. And it's Texas cold out there too!

We also will be working on Valentine boxes today for our homeschool party coming up on Thursday. Sweetheart chose a box that involved paper mache' and tissue paper and many steps. Little Bit chose a box that requires hot glue (and therefore mama). And I need to finish Bee's box. We are also making a box for a young man who used to be part of our homeschool group but now is fighting leukemia. Since he isn't in school this year, or a homeschool group, I thought our group could give him some cards. He loves all things sports so I'm attempting a boy baseball Valentine box.

I am way out of my league here.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Running two hours late and still I'm that funny. Just imagine what the day holds!

Ok, apparently I holds spellcheck. Lots and lots of spellcheck. Wow. My whole post just lit up yellow. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Early Monday Morning

S has been very helpful and supportive with my homeschool concerns lately. He's home enough now to see for himself the problems I have with keeping Sweetheart on task and on schedule and not distracted and not losing things, etc. When he had his mowing business he was gone a lot. I'm thankful that preaching-as-a-second-job allows him to be home so much more. He's very helpful!

It always surprises me when I give one of the girls a direction and they are whining or begging for some other thing and he cuts in with, "Go do it!" to the girl. Ah. So nice and refreshing to cut all that jabber and just have them go obey.

I know I could/should cut them off every time and have them obey like that, but honestly it is very tiring to always be the one giving directions. I think that's one thing about homeschooling that's exhausting---the directing all the time. To be the one constantly re-directing, checking on, getting on to, encouraging, instructing, keeping on task....

Does that tire you out too?

Maybe that's just parenting.

It's easier to ignore them and just think, "I don't hear any sounds of violence coming from their room so things must be good." It's easier--but not better.

So he said he would get Sweetheart up at 6 every morning so she can have time to get ready and get her physical therapy done. Her stretches and exercises take 45 minutes twice a day--a real time sucker! This morning Bee happened to call for me at 6:15 and that was the first any of us knew it was morning. Thankfully, I got her up and she got going. In fact, she's in the living room getting Bee dressed now. So nice for her to have time to get her stuff done AND be helpful!

Mondays are choir days for us. Choir is about 30-45 minutes away. We have to pack school work, choir stuff, lunches, toys for Bee, and stuff for me to do. It's an endeavor let me tell you. And then when we get home there is more school work to do.

Which is why I love Tuesdays. Tuesdays we stay home. ***big smile***

But first I must make it through today where I set the timer for every single thing Sweetheart does to keep her on track, assign homework for what is not finished, keep after her to pick up after herself following any activity, while also teaching a 4th grader and managing a 1 year old.

A one year old who scratched me on Sunday morning. I said, "Why on earth did you do that?" and she said, "I a tiger."

Then when we got to church she ran 15-20 laps around the auditorium. We were hoping that would tire her out for during church but ha ha. Needless to say, I made use of the cry room on Sunday and there was crying. And I wasn't even trying to make her sit! I was letting her play! Some days it just isn't happening. She was in such a fine mood. After church she walked across the big field by our church and then when she got back to the car she was hanging from the door handles saying, "I a ooh-aah!" (monkey). Oh it was quite a morning. I should have known after I took this picture Sunday morning before church:

One day THIS one will be my 8th grader.

And you know what? I can't wait.

 Because I love every single one....
 ...of these girls.... stinkin' much!

Even early on a Monday morning.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Raising Up Hackers (Part 7)

The problems.

So no matter what I think of our daughters' education and in whatever ways I may change my thinking on how we need to do things, there is still the practical problem of how to implement what I believe. 

To sum up:

1. I believe that college is not always necessary. It is over-priced and a better education could be had for a buck 50 in late charges at the library. We will not raise our children assuming that they MUST attend college.

2. I believe that learning can and should be enjoyed. Now we won't always enjoy everything we must learn. I have learned some things about doing our taxes but I do not enjoy learning about that. It's just necessary. But things I am interested in? Those should be enjoyable.

3. Home education does not need to look like school. Even in high school! I do not have to do what everyone else is doing. I do not have to do what is expected. I do have to follow the law.

4. I've been trying to get too much accomplished in school every day. Checking off boxes, while making me extremely happy, does not equal a good education.

5. Our children's character is far more important than their academic strengths. Their experiences during their growing-up years need to reflect that we feel that is more important.

6. We are too busy. We are too disorganized. We are poor time-managers. We have a lot of room for improvement and those improvements will benefit my kids.

7. I can approach the non-essential (outside of what is required) subjects differently than I have been.

8. I want them to learn to learn by themselves.

Having said all that, there needs to be some serious work around this house on organization. I have a child who struggles greatly with staying organized (both things and time) and another child who naturally is orderly and prefers it--to the point where it's almost a problem. And then we have a 20 month old tornado who lives here too.

I am frustrated because stopping to clean up messes sucks our school day away like nothing else. If I just roll with it, we will finish school. But I want them to learn to clean up as they go. Therefore I cannot ignore the messes. Understand I'm not talking about babies and preschoolers. I'm talking about my 14 year old. Different expectations at different ages Mama. I've got minimum 4 1/2 more years with this girl. Gotta make these lessons count.

We've moved to just reading and discussing science. Oh my word how enjoyable!!!!! I feel like they have retained more that way than what we have been diligently doing all year! Comprehension is absolutely better as we aren't hurrying through the reading so we can fill out the answers to the questions and get them glued into those notebooks. I LOVE the idea of notebooking. But this is working much better for us.

History, which is also not required by law, is far too enjoyable and important to stop. Plus, with our curriculum it is tied into reading and cannot be separated. History stays. I've done the same thing with every non-required subject. We've looked at it, the time it takes to accomplish it, and decided what to do and how many days a week to spend on it. Cooking, sewing, learning to be a hostess...these things are far too important to skip over just so we can cover every subject under the sun. Instead of SCHOOL, I'm truly trying to think EDUCATION.

What do you want your child to learn or to learn to do before they leave your house???

That is the question you must ask and answer. Then you have to implement it.

And that's what we're working on here at the House Revised.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Saturday Fun

It's pretty sad when you have to schedule time for family fun. We had so much to do this weekend, some of which did not get done (grocery shopping, finances....). But this is important stuff too.

We went strawberry picking at a nearby farm. 

Bee caught on very quickly which ones to pick. 

Little bit choosing good ones!

Sweetheart LOVES to eat strawberries. 

I had to really keep on top of Bee. She was quick. 

Add caption

You don't see the pictures of when Bee ran ahead down the row and into mud. Mama had to wade in to get her and we both had shoes that were caked with mud. I was just really happy I didn't fall in it!

Then we shopped a bit at their farmer's market (there see? I did go grocery shopping!) and went to eat lunch together. It was a nice Saturday morning.

And just in time too because a cold front came through Sunday morning and it was raining and cold the rest of the weekend.

Now we face Monday somewhat unprepared for the week. But that's OK. There are only 24 hours in a day! Lesson plans got done and S is going to get Sweetheart up early from now on so she can get a jump start on her day and NOT be behind all week.

Have a great Monday!