Saturday, August 31, 2013

The second six weeks...

My plan to keep updating at least once a week has been pushed to the side it seems. Work, School, household things and children keep me more than busy these day! We are currently working on a new septic install which has proven to be a challenge. Ours is failing and the new one is a insane amount of work and money. We started clearing for it back in May, a job that should have taken less than a week is now in it's third month. The site clearing guy we contracted left the job unfinished as well as all of his equipment. All of his equipment ended up being either repossessed or reclaimed by their original owners. Before we started this process we tried may other people but due to the difficulty moving things in and out of this space this guy was our last resort.  Then we had mother nature to deal with and the rain that made it a swampy/bog for months. It is now finally dry enough, DH has worked many weekends and nights clearing the field and this week we started trucking in dirt. After a struggle the first day, we were able to get things going and start working. This weekend DH is getting the pad ready for inspection and burning the debris. We are also working on the plans for our addition. Our home is 1400 sq. feet, and with soon to be 4 children in this house we are needing some more space. Homeschooling has taken over our living room, kitchen and dining room. I am hoping our plans to add a schoolroom and extra bedroom help with some of the extra clutter. Ideally we would at least like to have the house addition enclosed prior to the baby's arrival in December, say a little prayer for my sanity during this crazy time!

We completed our first six weeks and I feel great about what we have accomplished. Owen is enjoying all the books we are reading. Last six weeks we read 4 living books about the early settlers. We were both sad to be finished with them. He is doing well with math, and spelling. I also added in Writeshop Level D working on one unit in a 3 week cycle. It is a gently more broken down approach and it seems to be working. We finished our first unit and we had no tears. He brainstormed, made outlines, rough copies and a final one. I was pleased with his work and I am eager to see how he improves as we go on. We also added back in our Marine Biology by Apologia. Both the boys enjoy this and are interested in sea animals. As time goes on I want to try the Latin program or Spanish with Owen as well.

This six weeks we are learning about the American Revolution, George Washington and continuing on with our states. I look forward to each day reading about things I never learned in school. Wyatt is working on his letters, numbers and phonics. We do a lot of reading, activities and crafts right now. His attention span is pretty short so we just work in everything when he is eager. He loves working on crafts and the best thing I did for him last year was order Kiwi Crate for him. Every month he gets a new box with all the supplies, and directions for two crafts. I will definitely renew that again this year it has been a big hit.

Pixie enjoys doing school with us as well, at least when she is not driving us crazy. Usually I have print outs for Wyatt and if she sees them she will start working on his stuff. She loves tracing, drawing and learning right along with him. I try to include her as much as I can. She loves sorting and scooping things so I have been making quite a few sensory boxes for her to play with. I bag of beads, a scoop and a bunch of containers will entertain her for hours.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Two weeks in

So we are now officially two weeks into our school year. I have been primarily working with Owen and feel like we are both getting a good grasp of what are day is going to be like. I have been so pleased with the changes in him, although I don't know exactly what has caused it. We did take some time off that I believe did both of us a lot of good. We both are really enjoying our new curriculum and reading stories about Abigail Adams, and Sarah Noble. I love that when I get done reading our section for the day he says is that all? It makes it so much more interesting than reading a dry textbook. He has done so well with his copywork and dictation the last few weeks, where last year it was a total fight. Towards the end of the week he had an assignment to free write a journal entry. Last year he would have fought me every step and then we would have both ended up in tears. I debated  to even put it in front of him, but was totally shocked when he said ok how many sentences? I replied five and he started writing, it was hard to contain my excitement.  Most of our reading I am doing right now and I pick and choose what we do orally and what we do writing wise to not overwhelm him. I am totally encourage thought and pray that we continue to move forward.

I am working with Wyatt teaching him how to write his numbers and some basic math, pasting and cutting. Next week I hope to start the five in a row with both Pixie and him. I plan on taking this weekend to gather what I need to be a little more prepared. I am not sure when I will start the MFW Kindergarten with him, just playing it by ear and trying to make it fun.

Wednesday night we decide to join a local homeschool group outing to Ghost Crab on Topsail Beach. We have been trying to do some of the events the group organizes but they never seem to work out with Pixie's nap schedule or our school. This was a late night event and I though the boys would enjoy. It was put on by Ecological Marine Adventures and they did a fantastic job. Owen was the oldest out of the group, most of the kids were around Wyatt's age. The boys did a great job and I was very proud of Owen helping Wyatt. It was interesting meeting some of the people from the group. Everyone was very nice and I think we will definitely try to fit in a few more of these activities.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New things

Sadly, I have been neglecting updating things here. Life has been going quickly and we have just been trying to do our best to keep up. In December we will be adding another little one to our crew. The boys are so excited to have a new baby boy to the family. In the mist of this we have been working on planning an addition on our house. It has always been a plan, although we have dragged our feet due to all the other things we need to do. The first being putting in a new septic/drain field. We suspected ours was failing, but did not know how bad it was. So for the last 2 months we have been trying to get the new site for the septic prepared. Partly due to incompetence (hired work) and partly due to the weather, it has been severely delayed. We are anxious to get that part done so we can begin construction and hopefully have a good bit done before the baby arrives in December. It is not looking to good right now so we will see.

We have enjoyed about 6 weeks off of school. Owen and I went to Winston-Salem for the NCHE Conference and love it. It was so inspiring and fun, we met lots of fun people. I am now racking my brain trying to figure out how I will swing going with a 5 month old next year. I love checking out the curriculum first hand and attending workshops. Think I need to hire a Nannie for the weekend to come with! We also went to Boone for a week and enjoyed beautiful weather and relaxing time as a family.

This week we started back to school for Owen. I changed a few things with his curriculum and am excited to see how things progress. We chose a different core curriculum called Trail Guide to Learning Paths of Settlement. It is a US History based curriculum based on living books. I can say two days in Owen is already doing fantastic. He has written more for me than I ever got out of him last year. We are also changing math and using Teaching Textbooks it is an computer based program which I started back in May. He does well with it and enjoys it so for now we will stick with that. I am continuing on with All About Spelling, Handwriting without tears and Easy Grammar also. I found a new writing program called Bravewriter and plan on incorporating these ideas in with our work this year as well. My plan is to hopefully have quite a bit completed by the time the baby arrives to take the month of December off to get situated.

Wyatt will also begin more formal school this year as a Kindergartner. I love the excitement he has right now when I work with him and my main goal is to keep that with him. I have My Fathers World Kindergarten for him, as well as Singapore Early Bird Math, Handwriting without tears,  and Five in a Row.  This week we are just doing pasting, some math and stories. As we go on I will add more as I see how he does.

Pixie is doing good, we are currently working on potty training and she is a breeze right now. She enjoys painting while the boys work on their school and always wants to draw and color. Pixie loves dressing up and playing ballerina or Fairy and is even quite good at convincing the boys to play along with her. She totally rules the boys here it's quite funny. Can't imagine how it will be with a new little brother to boss around!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Back in the groove

We are sailing along now, still meeting some resistance but for the most part I am pleased with how things are going. We added some new material for Owen and it has seemed to make a big difference with him. Exploring Creations 2: Swimming Creatures is a awesome curriculum. I found these books which has a entire elementary series of animals, along with astronomy, anatomy and a few others. It is fascinating and I am enjoying learning right along with him. He is less resistant to write when he works on his notebook which is a nice change. We have around 9 weeks left of this school year, which I can't believe. May is going to be a busy month for us. I scheduled his annual test that is required by NC, and chose the Woodcock Johnson. This one is done orally and we will receive immediate feedback on his learning style and grade and age placement. I am hoping this will help us choose our new curriculum for next year. This year I am also taking Owen to the NCHE Homeschool Convention. They have a children's program and I think he will enjoy it. I am looking forward to spending some time with him we will be gone 3 days and 2 nights. DH will be staying back with the two Little's for that adventure! 

Monday we picked up our shipment of baby chicks. I think I got a little carried away ordering and we may have too many chickens! They are so cute thought and I tried to order some rare breeds that are not common locally. I have come to really enjoy raising chickens. We have a nice variety with standard breeds such as Americana's, RIR, Barred and Buff Rocks and two guineas. We also raise bantams: Silkies, cochins, and sizzles. This year we are adding Black Jersey Giants, Marans, Blue Laced Wynadottes, Buff Orpingtons, and some standard breed Cochins. I also ordered some different breeds of bantams that I hope do well. Some I ordered are pullets (females), but some come straight run so I know I will be having to deal with more roosters than needed. I am hoping I have pairs each of the new breeds. I am also hoping to start selling some of our eggs, to help with the cost of feeding all these creatures!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday musing

I now have a 10 year old, can that be possible? It is,  and with children comes a great responsibility for raising moral, responsible adults. With all the outside influences and things so readily available to our children it is becoming increasingly more difficult. A recent incident with my oldest has us wondering the best way to do this. It was not anything terrible just not something I had expected to address with him quite yet. I want my children to have good moral character and learn to make good choices. They won't learn this without making mistakes. I know I can't shelter them and even though they are not in school they are still  around other children and will be confronted with choices. They will have to learn who are good friends and who is going to be trouble .Our job is to teach them right from wrong. I wish we lived back in the days of little house in the prairie. They still have bullies, and issues, but in comparison thing were much easier. Drugs, violence and sex were not plaster around every corner, TV, radio and magazines. I don't even like listening to the radio because the songs, commercials and DJ's are not appropriate for children. There are commercials  for Viagra, plastic surgery, STD's and all kinds of other things that my children don't need to see or here.  As parents my DH and I will be reevaluating a lot of things to allow for our children to grow into what and who God wants them to be.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Time away

This week my DH had to go to Myrtle Beach, SC to take CEU classes for his Irrigation License. Now that we are homeschooling we decided to take advantage of the time and take the whole family. We arrived Tuesday to beautiful weather, the kids couldn't wait to go and run around on the beach.

DH had classes each day so the kids and I picked things to do during the day and met up with Daddy during lunch. The second day was beautiful, warm although a little breezy. We got up and headed to the beach to play in the sand. The boys brought trucks and dug in the sand while Pixie and I looked for shells. She was very determined to try to catch a seagull, it was pretty cute watching her run after them. Sand was not her friend, and I remembered how hard it was for little ones at the beach. When she had had enough I had to coax the boys back to the room. They could have played out there all day. That night we had a crazy wind/rain storm move in and I woke up at 12 with wind similar to what it sounds like during a hurricane. We were on the 15th floor and it was insane! I really thought the building was going to blow down. Thankfully we all woke up safe and sound the next morning but the winds were still crazy. The kids wanted to go back to the beach but I was sure Pixie or Wyatt would be blown far away. I had a back up plan if weather was bad to go to Ripley's Aquarium so the kids and I headed that way after lunch. Since it is off season there was hardly anyone there. We spent a few hours exploring and had a fantastic time.


Wyatt learning about fossils

Kids loved seeing all the fish

Owen getting to touch a sting ray

It was so windy, but this was the best of the group shots!

Field Trip

It's been awhile since I have update here. Let's see here is a short run down of what's been going on here: Wyatt had his 5th Birthday
          We baked cookies and had a blast with our Elf: Henry
          We celebrated Christmas
          Wyatt ended up in the hospital for 4 day!(diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) 
                 he is doing good, thankfully although it still feels like it was a dream)
          We celebrated Christmas again with my in-laws

Now we are back into a regular routine, and struggling with a little cold with all three kids. Owen and I have been struggling again after the break with school. I am still unsure if it's a behavioral issue or something else.  Everything I ask him to do is a struggle, even when I know he knows the info. My DH and I are trying to find ways to discipline him as I do not want to fight and argue all day to complete his assignments. I have spoken to other Homeschoolers and they all sympathize and have said their first years were very similar. Although a bit of me is relieved to hear this it doesn't make it any less frustrating for me. I feel terrible when my DH asks how school went I end up telling him how hard he is to work with and how bad it really is. I really want to love it, but something is not working and I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what to do.

After a difficult week last week I decided for a change of scenery and we went on a field trip to Fort Fisher Aquarium. I have awesome memories of going to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD., although it makes my standard for them rather high now. The first time I went to Ft. Fisher I couldn't believe that was it. Where were the penguins, the rain forest, the huge sharks? Once I realized my expectations were way to high I started to appreciate how nice our local aquarium was. We have been a few times, and I decided this would be a perfect field trip. My MIL had planned on coming with us and when I found out schools were out we invited our neighbor Kaitlyn to come along as well. Of course the night before Pixie woke up with a high fever and wasn't able to come. Thankfully my DH was able to stay home with her so I could take the others.

We spent the next few hours exploring, listening and learning. It was not too crowded and all three children enjoyed exploring. They have two great touch tanks, one with sting rays, horseshoe crabs and various sea urchins and another that had young (harmless sharks). The older two enjoyed this while Wyatt only wanted to touch the water. I was happy to hear Owen ask lots of good questions.