Sunday, June 28, 2009

What do you think??

i spent way too much time playing around with this tonight but it was fun to put in cute tags, a new background and of course I had to then put new pics of the boys and myself on here!!!
Thank you shabby blogs - you girls rock with some super cute stuff for FREE!!!

I love my new header!

Prasie the Lord for friends who have a way with technology because I am clueless!!! My dear friend was so sweet to make my creation into a header for my blog!!! I did the scrapbooking to make it pretty and she did all the hard work to get it on there and the right size!!! YEAH!!!
I am off to find a new background that goes a little better!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I have been having a love - hate relationship with Yahoo Groups and Blogs! I love them because you get such a wide variety of advice, responses and chatter in regards to a certain topic or curriculum. I love knowing about people's personal experiences - real life experiences - with a curriculum or program before I buy it or while I am using it. I love having the advice from someone who has been there, done that! I love that we can all share ideas and things we have created or planned to go along with whatever it is we are in a group about!
I hate it because I want to and have to read every single daily digest or post that gets sent out - just in case there is a great idea, something free, a craft, a way to store this or that, a planning suggestion, how to do pg.123 as a file folder game, etc...... There are so many good ideas I am afraid I might miss one but I am also the freak who wants to do them all! I get sucked into all the ideas and suggestions and whatnot and start rethinking everything I have been doing, am going to do or want to do because these ideas sound so good. I then start rearranging, making or buying these wonderful games or suggested items, stopping everything and redoing it all!! Do you think we get anywhere doing all this foolishness - NO!! Now - it is not their fault I feel like I have to do it all - right now. But it is a huge struggle for me! I am the queen of making stuff, organizing it just so and then not doing it that way or not using it! I will spend days making a game or reorganizing for school and spend no time doing school!
I just edited my profile of the most recent yahoo group I was getting to 'no email' because for me it is all or nothing and it has to be nothing right now. I am already having withdrawals! I keep thinking about what ideas might possibly be posting today and should I just check to see if there is something better than the gazillion games I have already created for that exact subject?? I feel like it is a sickness and I just can't get over it - what is wrong with me?? I always have to have a 'project' going on. I can't just be sitting around with the boys or my hubby and enjoying the moment - I feel like I always have to be doing something and projects are great to do in front of the tv or while the boys are doing their thing. The problem is I don't know when or how to stop - I find myself doing the 'project' constantly and not spending any time with my family , staying up late and being grouchy, desperatley needing a nap(which is a waste of more time).
I have got to fight this and get past it so I can be the Homeschool Mom I want & need to be. The Homeschool mom God has called me to be for my boys! The mom God has called me to be for my boys. I need to focus my energy on them. I need to make my boys my 'project', my husband my 'project', my house my 'project'. I really want to and have tried to - lots of different times and lots of different ways but there is somethinga bout the way a 'project' fills me up! Making a meal plan, cleaning the house, shopping wisely, having a good day of school - those things just don't fill me up the way a 'project' does!
People are always asking me 'how do you get it all done'. It is because my priorities are all screwed up and I will work hard to do a 'project' and then get mad at myself, depressed & self loathing because I haven't trained my boys to do this or that, all I do is yell at them, we aren't where we should be with school, with chore training, with a routine to our day, I let them watch way too much Tv and play way too many video games, we forgot to pray because I was in such a rush to get done so I could work on my 'project'.Where does it end? How does it end? I know I have to start with Prayer and the word of God but of course that is another area that falls to the wayside and gets neglected because I was up late, slept in and now we are in a rush to get our day going and I can't figure out how to fit it in after that or I don't stop long enough to enjoy His word and presence in my life! It is a vicious cycle that I have got to change or it is going to drown me!AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!

WOW! I was feeling that burden on my shoulders - it was quite heavy!

Plan or Paint???

I love to craft and paint and I have been pouring a lot of energy into getting school stuff together for August and now for that matter! So...the dilemma is that I think my mother in law is going to take the boys on Monday and we will be meeting them in Canada on Friday after we pick up Alex for vacation. That will leave me with 2 1/2 days to myself!!! What do I do?? Do I do the actual planning for next year and get it all done so I dont have to worry and stress over it while on vacation? and we will be ready to go when we get back from the next trip at the end of july?? or do I paint and craft??? I have alot of ideas to do in my head and some started but not finished projects that i would love to work on!!! What to do - what to do?? I am hoping I can do both but since i hav enever actually done the physical planning for our school year I have no idea how long it will take me???

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pizza Hut Book It Program

Here is the link to sign up your Homeschooling family for the Pizza Hut Book It Program!! Free pizza for the kiddos when they read!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tidbits from Convention

The Homeschool Convention was AWESOME!!! I got to visit with some of my Girls that I don't see very much during the year and we laughed ourselves silly! It always fascinates me how we go together and then we all end up alone for the majority of the day! We all have different agendas, different styles of schooling and different things we want to look for so we meet for lunch or a speaker and then we are off again to do our thing - there is no pressure to do this or that from anyone!! At the end of the day we all show off our goodies and share what we learned - much FUN, very encouraging and filling to get me ready for the next school year!
I don't go to alot of the speakers because we always buy the cd's so I can listen to them over and over again throughout the year. I went to 2 this year - the first one was Jessie Wise from the Well Trained Mind talking about reading. She talked about how she taught her kids to read and how to use her book The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I was sold and ran back to the used curriculum hall to see if I could find it - I did!!! I found the book, the magnet board with letters and the flashcards that are used with the program for $15 - it was quite a find!!! I am excited to use this to catch up the older 2 and to start with Thomas. It is very basic and systematic and all you use is the book. She talked about how you only teach reading when they are just learning - you don't also teach them writing at the same time. I had been using Explode the Code which does teach reading and have you doing writing at the same time and it is very hard and frustrating for the boys - they hate it actually! I am excited to can those workbooks and use this book and some beginning readers and games to continue teaching them to read. The idea just makes sense and I think the boys will respond to it! I would love to hear from any of you that might have used or be using this book??
The other speaker I went to was Carol Barnier. She has written a great book that gives you hands on ideas to teach the highly distractable kid called How to get your Child off the Refrigerator and onto Learning and a book for highly distractable moms called If I am Diapering a Watermelon, Where did I leave the Baby? She now has a new book called The Big What Now book of learning Styles. I bought it and can't wait to read it!! I love this lady and have read her first 2 books so I am very anxious to read the new one!! I was so excited to see that she was going to be at our convnetion. I read her books about a year and a half ago and have been using some of her ideas to school this year and they are fabulous! Her books are loaded with hands on, practical ways to teach kids with games and other tips to make it easier for kids to learn without having to write all the time and lots of other ideas - I mean Lots!!! I would HIGHLY recommend her books! I am sure I will be showing off some her ideas soon!!!
I found lots of goodies in the used curriculum hall which meant I didn't have to spend much on new stuff!! I did thoroughly enjoy walking around and around the Exhibit Hall and checking out the new books and all the booths and ideas that are available to us!!! I think that so many moms and teachers could benefit from the convnetion and some of the things that we get to take advantage of as Homeschoolers - books - good books,manipulatives, art projects!
When I left for convention I had just been turned on to the company heart of dakota and since I knew they were not going to be at my convention I was really hoping to get my hands on a used copy of the Bigger Hearts for His Glory book for the boys for next year. I couldn't find it anywhere and I was frustrated and sad because I didn't know what I was going to use now. Without having a chance to get my hands on the book I wanted to use I wasn't prepared to make a decision! I was so sure I would find it!! So - I prayed and talked to God about it that night and when I woke up I was okay with not finding it! The Lord convinced me that I needed to use ALL or MOST of the books I already own!! I have an obsession with thrift stores and yard sales and buying something becasue it is a good deal so I have lots of American History, Science and Bible books that I can easily(maybe) plan myself for the year!! So - we will be doing a slight review of American History to the American Revolution and then continuing on and finishing up what we didn't finish this year from that point on! The boys want to learn about the wars and such so we will!! We will be using the Let's Read and Find out Science books that I have accumulated on all sorts of different topics as well as some Magic School Bus books with some experiments thrown in here and there! We have lots of Bible devotionals. We will stay with Horizons Math and we will start our new reading program for LA. I am looking forward to doing the planning for us - I think!!! It will be a challenge but I really feel like this is what God has called me to do this year so I know he will give me the ability to succeed - as long as I stay on task with Him!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I LOVE Convention

No - not because I get away from the kids for 3 days!!! I can still remember my first convention - I must have gone back to the Exhibit Hall over and over again. I was glassy eyed and could barely stand but I just kept walking around and looking! I was a mess - I am sure of it! Last year I kept going back to the used hall - I knew what I was looking for(kindof;at least a little better than my first year) and so I was looking for deals! I have a serious addiciton to buying stuff that is cheap!! This year I am praying HARD that God will keep my addiction in check and that I will not be overcome by the cheapness(not a word - i know) of a book!! Convention for me is a time of pure Joy - I just love to look at all the choices that are out there and all the cool things I cant have but am told I need!!! But it is also a time of great stress - I am overwhelmed by all the people and the stuff! There are so many options for us as Homeschoolers these days. Sometimes I wish it was just the basics as the pioneers of Homeschooling used and we were more focused on God than what curriculum we were going to buy - even if it is a good bible based curriculum! I am torn because I love it - I love the thrill of the hunt, finding that book I really needed(ok wanted) for dirt cheap, looking at all the things other homeschool moms have used that have worked great for them and they are now selling to all of us, all the cool science kits, games and fun stuff and all the BOOKS!!! But the chaos of it is overwhelming at times and definately outweighs the Love of it all!!! But do I stop and say enough...just go back to the room and relax and enjoy the time or go listen to a speaker - there are some awesome ones here...NO I buy the speakers and listen to them throughout the year and head over to the next booth...I might miss something if I leave!!!!
Only 2 more days till convention.........

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More Games and New Workboxes

Workboxes have taken over and I am ever so thankful for Sue Patrick for writing a book about the concept!!! I do love them!! They have been so easy for us to use and just throw into our school day and make it better!!! I go to convention next week and she is going to be there - I am excited to see what she has in her booth on display and the possibility of beinga ble to chat with her a little!!!
Anyways - I did have to switch up our boxes to magazine files so that we could use 12 and I need them to fit on the 2 bookshelves, hence the magazine box versus the show box. Thomas will still only have 6 but he has a whole shelf to choose from that houses his stuff!!!

I had thought we would only use 6 or 9 but I have gotten so many ideas from other blogs and the yahoo group and just going through my stuff and the stuff I want to do with them that I decided we would use 12! I got these great number tags and I am so sorry that I can't remember where I got them(if any of you know and wouldnt passing along her blog so I can give her credit I would appreciate it) because they are so cute and the boys like them much better than just the plain ol' number!!

I think this will be the way that I put the cards in their boxes for the things we do together. If I put it into the box - they will think their box is empty and we wouldn't want them to think that!!

I have a small basket on top of the bookshelf for them to put their cards and numbers in when they have finished that box. They didn't seem to care about putting it on a schedule - they liked that it was off the box. If that is enough for them - it is enough for me!!!

File Folder Games Rock.........
I do love Games and I have gone a little crazy making file folder games and other games with paint chips these past weeks!! I think these will be the end of it but who knows!! Over at The Snail's Trail she keeps giving me some FANTASTIC ideas to do so very cheaply - practically free and I get so excited I start making them again!!! Most of these are ideas I got from Momma Snail - I thought I would show off because I sure had fun making them and am ever so thankful for the sharing of ideas out here in blogland!!!

The number words are written out on the folder and they will have to match the dot and the numeral to the word. I only did 1-10 for now and will do 11-20 later on when Thomas is ready to move past these!

Thomas is going to love doing this one. In the envelope are each of the letters in his name and he has to match them to the top to learn how to spell his name! I used a library pocket as the envelope. I cut open the front of it, folded it over and used some velcro to keep it closed and I put packing tape on the top edge so it won't rip as he opens and shuts it!

This is another number matching where he has to match the dots to the numeral.

These are the dots and I used the same library pocket to put the dot cards in.

You can't see the numbers but each 2 square spot has a number on it 1-10. I put packing tape(didn't have anything else around the house, it works and it was late so...) over the numbers so he can use dry erase markers to color them in, practice writing them and he can trace them with his finger! I put a piece of writing strip on the bottom so if he wants to try to write the number without tracing it - he can! Again - it is covered in packing tape so we can use this over and over with a dry erase marker!

In the little baggie velcroed to the folder are pictures of a word that begins with each letter of the alphabet. He will have to match the beginning sound to the proper letter.

This is one of my favorites from Momma Snail. I love the idea of using the preschool workbooks to make games. She also had a rhyming words one which I will get around to doing one of these days. This one is sequences. I got hte pics from a couple of old preschool workbooks.

I was thinking about using this same format to do greater than and less than, before and after with #'s, maybe opposites???

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Games, Bees and Life

I have been busy this past week rearranging, making games, tweaking the workboxes, I painted a room that has been waiting to be painted for quite some time, we did some school, and Life has continued around me whether I wanted it to or not!!!!

These are the completed file folder games I showed you in the making in this post

In this one they will have to match upper and lower case letters

This one is a simple matching game for Thomas!

I saw this book storage idea and it has been eating at me to do for quite a few months now!!! I looked all over for cheap magazine boxes to copy her idea and I couldn't find ANY!!! She got hers from Ikea and the closest one to us is 2 hours away - aarrgghhh!!! I hate it when I can't get an idea out of my head and it consumes me because I so want to do it!!!! So - I was halfway to Ikea last week and I just kept driving!!! I bought the boxes - painted them black with some spray paint(who knew you could do that - I tried it - it worked and so I was off and running) and put them on my shelves!!! I love that I can label the boxes with what is in them and it makes it a lot easier to find books when looking! Now - not all the books are in boxes but a lot of them are!!!

I also wanted to use magazine boxes for workboxes since our space is limited and that was my other push to go get them! I am now able to get 12 boxes on the 2 shelves. We will not use all 12 during the summer but I am getting some great ideas to use in the boxes and it is going to be easy to fill them all when we start back in the Fall! I am not done with them yet but will post some pics when I am!!
My OCD is happy for now!!!

We found a BeeHive in a tree in our backyard!! So - we are about to start a Bee LapBook that I got from CurrClick for free!! I am a little scared becasue I dont want the boys to make them angry and they are right near where they play but they are as excited as I am to watch them make their hive and learn about them so.....I am going to brave it!!!
How cool is this........

There are a lot of bees in there - it is a little scary but it sure is neat!!!