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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Still struggling

So with the 2 extra days of break, I got a taste of homeschooling last week.  And honestly, I totally loved it.  The kids were fully engaged and excited to be working on whatever I asked them to do.  We did an art project, played alphabet games, and end the morning with air hockey on day 1.  In the afternoon we read some books and then the kids gladly played together while dinner was made.  On day 2 we went to the library, where my kids picked book after book off the shelf and wanted to bring it home.  Since that day I have read no less than 5 books/day to James, often 10+.  Carolyn has averaged at least 1 chapter book per day and as usual soaked up the female biographies I got for her.  After a morning at the library, we spent time in the afternoon reading and then the kids again played together nicely until dinner.  It was like a miracle had happened in our home.

This Wednesday and Thursday, I worked with James to complete the preschool lessons I put together.  He loves reading the books, reciting the poem, and doing the art project.  He is struggling a bit with writing the letters, but we get through it.  I think I might decrease the number he needs to do so it doesn't feel tedious to him.  But he is loving doing his preschool at home.  We also have played several board games - his favorites are Mouse Trap and Candy Land.  With those his colors and numbers and being reinforced.

Carolyn continues to report that she's not doing much in school.  I ask her what she likes and her only answer is the teacher.  That has me terrified about what next year might bring.  They are spending the next week or so doing more assessment.  It's January, and they appear to be on their third round of assessing.  Isn't there an easier way than taking a week's time when there are only 20 kids in the classroom?  I know Carolyn is going to be bored and so part of my weekend will be spent putting together some academic activities for her at home to focus her mind.  But it really shouldn't be like this.

If I bring her home, I know not every day will be like the 2 above.  But I also wonder if there is no school, if the kids will finally let themselves relax.  We really battle with sleep in our house.  If there was no school, maybe we'd stop fighting that battle.  I think about letting the kids decide when to sleep and when to be awake for a week.  I wonder if they would get to know themselves a bit better and realize what we're doing is trying to help them.  The rule, of course, would be that they could not rely on us to entertain them in an effort to stay awake.  But I suspect that James is still too young for a similar experiment and he doesn't recognize when he's tired.  But I digress, I just can't get over this heart tug to keep the kids home.  I thought if I focused on other things that I would move on.  But even focusing on properly preparing food (I started making a sourdough starter and am soaking beans today), keeping the house a bit cleaner, and increasing my workload to try to save for the roof haven't stopped my mind from resting here.  I need to pray about this more, but I feel really stuck here and can't figure out what God is trying to say.  I feel like to make this decision peacefully I at least need Jon's full blessing.  Surely God wouldn't want me to make a decision not inline with my husband.  So where does that leave me?  For now, struggling in my heart about a decision that could make a huge impact for my children.

As a TEDx video I watched said... I want my children to be happy.  What they want to do when they get older is up to them.  I need to help them be happy and healthy.  I just wish I knew what the best path to that result is.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New year, new start

We are 4 days into the new year and I am focusing on truly a fresh start.  Sticking with my goal, I have avoided all sugar.  Along with that, I have completed 2 workouts.  Wow am I weak from taking time off!  I could even feel it in my lungs a bit as I lifted today, very bad.  I think that these 2 changes are easy enough to start off with this month.  On top of the personal changes, I have spent time thoroughly cleaning the kitchen and living room.  After everyone was in our house with shoes and the snow over the holidays, the floors were gross.  Jon was great and took the kids to gymnastics yesterday and out in the snow today so I could get things cleaned without the kids underfoot.  It feels so nice to have such a clean house.  We also put out the tree today and packed up the Christmas decorations, so the house is much less cluttered.

I have also spent some time making some preschool activities for James.  As we head into the second half of the year and he continues to show the desire to read, we'll continue to focus on letter recognition and their sounds, as well as writing the letters.  I'm following the handwriting order of introduction rather than alphabetic, since he already knows the song.  We'll do some alphabetic order stuff too, since I know that's something he'll need for kindergarten.  I've put together some packs with a nursery rhyme, art project, and letter writing.  We'll get letter books from the library and work as he wants.  I figure we'll go a little slower with this, at most 1 letter a day.  I also made my own crocodile snap game.
You take turns pulling letters/numbers out of the box and saying them.  If you pull a snap card, you have to put all your cards back.  Whatever cards you get right you have to keep.  I figure it can be fun on days he's looking to work on "preschool" but doesn't have the attention for writing.  As he gets older I can even make new note cards with sight words to put into the box.  I might make a second set of cards with math problems for Carolyn so she can play, but we'll see her interest level.

I've enjoyed this time off and extra time with family, but I'm looking forward to getting back to our routine.  Yesterday the village was working on a water issue in our neighborhood so our water was off 10-4.  We went over to Jon's parents for the day.  The kids had fun, but James fell asleep on the way home at only 6.  Yep, we definitely still need naps!  Today they both slept until 2:45.

Time to put them to bed!