Well, we thought God was preparing our hearts and home for homeschooling Peep3 next school year. It looks like it will be much sooner! My heart is ready. My mind is ready. I feel overwhelmed with the list of to-dos that need to get done in order to make this happen though.
Here's a break down of where we are today.
Reading: We tested her the end of last school year and she was at 4.6 reading level (fourth grade). She just started 5th grade and is now reading at a 5th grade level! WOW! Thank you, Lord! This is amazing for her. So this means she will graduate from her IEP in reading soon!
Math: She still needs help. So the IEP remains. And we will take her to these classes 4 days a week while homeschooling until she meets her goals there.
We will start out with Handwriting Without Tears and Writing Strands. We will be reading some great classics starting with Anne of Green Gables and including reading responses, a report, and spelling words with this. I'm excited to start a Unit study on Anne of Green Gables for other subjects! Independent reading of her choice. And Bible reading, discussion, and writing verses weekly. I want to introduce to Peep3 women of the Bible and how we can learn from them!
Although we're still searching for a complete math curriculum, we've signed her up with IXLfor lots of math practice. IXL is a great program for kids to practice all areas of math from K-8. It will give the parents reports of how well they did in each area and how long they practiced. You're able to see what areas need more instruction. This is a great resource for all school aged kids. And it's on the computer! Not a workbook. "L's" teacher is using this for her class homework. And she recommends it because there is detailed help for the questions they get wrong. Also, we will be purchasing Times Tales from Trigger Memory. This was highly recommended for to make math more fun and for those with dyslexia!
I will be implementing a workbox system . I read Sue Patrick's Workbox System and it was helpful, but I will be creating our own system from these ideas. Here's a link to Rockin' Granola's workbox post for more ideas. I think I will keep the same boxes out in order for a weeks time. And will change it up a bit here and there. This will help lessen my planning time. I'll have a couple of boxes set aside to add in during the week to keep it fresh. I also need to get a couple of timers to help her know how much time to spend on an activity. She can spend an hour on one assignment as it is. This could be really freeing to her. Also this should cut down on distractions as I will place all the needed items for that subject in that box. Nothing else but a timer will be left out of a box, including pencils, paper and erasers. This is a huge stumbling block for Peep3 right now at school.
We are considering hiring someone to come in one day a week as a Mother's Helper to give Peep3 and I more instuctional time during the week. I am hoping that my Mother-in-law can come one day a week as well. We are talking about this. I was all gun-ho to find someone and then this morning I realized that I want to try Nana coming in first and really see what our needs will be and time frame before hiring someone. So I will put that on hold for a bit, but will still ask around. Here's a great post from Steady Mom that talks about how when something looks perfect, "except when it isn't!" Thanks Jamie, I needed to read that today!
Friday School will start up in February and give Peep3 a chance to choose some classes and get to see old friends and make new ones at our church. I will quit MOPS at that time so that we can stay home 4 days a week and keep Fridays as our big day out. I'm hoping to replace MOPS with an evening bible study so that I can be fed and have some fellowship once a week. We'll see if Daddy Rooster is on board with that! The big peeps already go to church at that time, so it's perfect timing.
This list is long, but most of it is done! I'm very excited and writing it down really helps. That way I can look back and see what our goals were and what's working or not! This list is just about Academics which is only half of the reasons why we want to bring her home! I'll post more about that next!
Look for these upcoming posts: The "D" Word - Dyslexia - How learning disabilites have impacted our children and our family!and The Most Important Reasons to Bring Her Home!
Well, I thought since chaotic September was O.V.E.R that October would be a breeze.You know, just being able to keep up on the everyday housework and simple errands bring me much joy after such a pileup. But that was very short lived. Boy, I live for the days where I can get dressed with makeup on and the kiddos and I can get out for an errand or park day and still have energy in the afternoon to do the things that keep this house a-roll'n! But then the flu hit and not once, or twice, but now three times!Peep1 down for 5 days with bad sinus infection. Peep6 is on his third day with the flu. Last Thursday after a much needed fun day at the Pumpkin Patch, Peep3's school called to say she threw up. And the week before that half of us were sick. Was'up?!! And now my house and I feel like we're a-rock'n! And not in a good way!
Needless to say it's been a little frustrating! And there have been moments where I've cried out to God after cleaing up puke with one toddler, calming another crying sick toddler, and being kicked by the third one! That was the straw that broke the camel's back. After all I'd missed my MOPS group for the third meeting in a row! Couldn't God give me just a small 2 hour break with no sick peeps so that I could get some fellowship time in? Is that too much to ask? I've been in tears several times this week. Come on God you know how lonely and isolated I've been lately! But I know what God has been teaching me for the last month, before these little storms hit. I know He's been calling me HOME. Home? Seriously? How much more HOME can I get?!!
I knew the foundation of our HOME needed some work. Relationships. Nutrition-meals. And our marriage - time spent with my Hubby (Daddy Rooster)! But then we added the little storms and I saw that my heart needed to be in the right place as well. Yes, God is calling me HOME. The highest and the most beautiful calling is to my family. I picked up a book from the library called Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Chancey and McDonald. It really helped put some things into perspective for me as a Homemaker. I appreciated the biblical view of our often misguided perception of such an important profession. Although there are areas in the book that I know is not me as well and have a hard time stomaching, I can keep an open heart and let God mold me into the Homemaker He designed ME to be! Read it if you dare!
God has been so gracious to me during this hard time. He has given me a scripture when all I had was literally a minute to read His Word! He has spoken to my heart re: relationships with my peeps. Shown me where I've been wrong. Or where I've been looking at situations through my own wrong colored glasses and not through His perfect ones! Shown me where I am strong. Given me such a blessing in my wonderful husband that is my best friend! And He's somehow kept me physically going! He is Good!
I'm off now to help a chickie climb into a chair, read a book to another chickie wanting my time, and holding a bowl for the third chickie to puke into! And in the midst of some tears, I'm happy to be the one to do all of this and more! I love being Mama Hen!
OK. So, I'm just getting started and am having a hard time finding good, no, great homeschooling resources for multiples. And then I remembered one of my favorite sites! Mama Jenn has two sets of twins plus one! And she is successfully homeschooling and living to blog about it and so much more! I will be spending a lot of time over at her blog this week checking out all of her resources that she already has in place for all of us! Check out her Homeschool Resource List Blog! This is so great! Looking for holiday ideas? Curriculum ideas? A-Z activities? And soooo much more! Go check her out!
If anyone has any homeschooling multiple blogs they follow or resources to share I'd love to share, please LMK! I'm hoping to make a list!
Peep1- First Grade
Peep2 - 4 years old
Peep3 - 3 years old
We started out our year with the fantastic Western Washington State Fair. This is the 7th largest in the country! It is big and we got to go free on the first Friday of the fair each year. Since this was such a "big" deal in our area, we decided to host our own "Fair Day". Several homeschool families came to our house to "show" their animals (stuffed), show off their baking skills ( I got to judge all the entries...yummy), and their latest creations (lego, forts, etc.). We set up a ticket booth at the front door, where my kiddos got to learn about money (fake of course). We awarded each participant with Blue Ribbons for a variety of things! It was a total blast! The kids all loved it too! It was such a great way for them to try public speaking when showing their animals. And boosting self-confidence by showing off their hard work and so much more!
We loved My Father's World Kindergarten so much that we decided to follow with their First Grade curriculum. I loved it because the student got his own Bible to color and learn to read. I'm a huge believer in studying creation and the Bible as much as possible while they are young. It is the foundation to everything else they will learn later on! L&A got to do preschool along with MFW and went to co-op classes with their brother.
We plodded along pretty well. However, writing became a huge frustration quickly. If I had know then, what I know now, I would have put every writing assignment away (except for practicing the ABCs) quickly! This skill was so difficult (not that MFW asked for much) that Peep1 would sit at the table, white knuckled, the whole time. Tears for him. Total frustration for me as well. This continued into 2nd grade. So I took the lessons away and we spent more time on the couch reading great books. I gave him a writing journal and as we read he was to write words if he wanted to or draw pictures that related to the story. It was just for him to get used to a pencil in his hand w/o any pressure. It helped our relationship greatly! I love those precious times snuggled on the couch! I had forgotten until I read Salt Box: Tactile Penmanship Practice that we worked on tactile learning with salt and sand as well.
Reading three letter words was going pretty well. But by second grade his progress went very slowly. Looking back I remember all the worry and frustration I had over his progress. And now I see so early on the signs of what we would later learn was dyslexia!
Still have to get organized enough to plan some lessons for at least
a week or two in advance. For right now we are "winging" it!
Peep5 is really into it and would ask for help with every bead.
Peep6 could pretty much thread the beads by himself. Needed some assistance.
We are focusing on colors, shapes and fine motor skills.
Anyone have good ideas of something longer and harder to thread
beads with for this age?
Peep4 was all about "Dressing Up"!
Didn't want to do any of the work, just show it off! haha
Teaching them to keep their snacks at the table is a lesson
I'm trying to teach them, since we'll be in some settings this Fall
where this is important.
I said,"Thank you, Mama." Thinking they'd repeat it and
Peep4 said "Thank you, Jesus!"...Even Better!
Peep1 - High School
Peep2 - Middle School
Peep3 - Elementary
I made these Banana Peanut Butter muffins for the first day of school.
But here's the catch.
I knew I wouldn't have time in the early morning before Peep1 left to get them done, so I bought Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls for the AM and had these muffins ready for them when they walked in the front door after school.
Ever have one of those...I need a quick word from you, Father...as you open your Bible?
Here is today's Word for me: The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1
Ok, God, what are you telling me?
First, I know where my heart is being led this Fall. (BTW, this was not how I was going to start this post) I need to get back to basics.
I say that alot, but I mean the very basics.
It's been a long time since I've looked at the very bottom of things and brushed away the clutter and spent time inspecting my foundation.
I'll break it down.
Doesn't sound that exciting does it. But that's my focus this Fall!
First, if my foundation isn't on the Rock, Jesus Christ, how can I expect to build up my home. And it starts with prayer. We had a big eye-opener re: my oldest son, who went thru a really dark period of time last Spring. He is too young to have gone thru this, but it was definetly a spiritual warfare that we walked thru. Praise God that he was delivered from something at a church conference and God has walked with him closely. I can't tell you how wonderful it's been having my son back! This summer was such a joy to be with him and to have great conversations. Truly a different kid! Thank You, Lord. We're not sure how this all came to be, but I'm tired of feeling like I'm peddling to try to keep up with all the teen stuff. So, I want to be pro-active and be on my knees and keeping my children lifted before God, BEFORE things happen! They need such incredible protection and guidance and wisdom, that can only come from above! My older three are in public school so that complicates the matter. But they are there, because that is where we've been led for them for this year. It's a very hard decision. But I know that by being on my knees I can impact their lives in a mighty way!
And if I'm not being fed (spiritually), how can I feed my precious children with words of life?
Second, other than Christ, our marriage is THE foundation of this home. And I've walked with dear friends lately who's "Christian" marriages have ended in divorce. Where did that come from? How did that happen? I don't know and I'm sure they are wondering the same thing. I can't continue to let things slide in my marriage. To let complacency be the norm. We have to be on our guard and continually putting our marriages before God and asking Him to help us make it better and protect this vital foundation! I look at our 6 children and thank God that they have a model of parents that love each other to watch.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Third, if only I could have approached my conversation with my daughter differently yesterday. How I approach this tween is key to my relationship with her. But so often I am in a hurry, can't hear because of babies or get caught up in her hormonal state that it usually ends up with me getting her wrath or she mine! Lord, please help me to be gentle! And help her not to be so defensive! Thank, You!
Fourth, Dinner. Duhhh!!! You'd think that this mom of many would have this one down by now. Trying. I have a love hate relationship with my kitchen. I love to eat. Hate to cook. Ok, hate is a strong word. Don't enjoy it. But it is key to the existance of my family's health and to our communication. I can let a lot of things slide now that my older ones can fend for themselves in the kitchen. But I have to make this a priority! Everyone is happier with a yummy dinner that's homemade. So that is my goal. I'll keep you posted. Now tonight is Mac&Cheese, because hubby and I get to go out with my sister and her hubby! Yay! But I am making a breakfast casserole for in the morning! And I made Chicken Divan and Meatloaf with mashed potatoes in the last couple of days. Trying!
So the lesson today, thanks God, is that it is easy to tear down my house thru complacency, harsh words, and no food! But I can build upon this firm foundation that I've been given and watch it grow!
We started homeschooling our oldest when he started Kindergarten. Our main reasons were to give him more one-on-one time, let him explore what interested him, and to spend more time reading together and talking about God and His creation. We loved that "homeschooling" is "family oriented". We had a couple friends homeschooling. How hard could it be?
I'm so glad we started in Kindergarten. Wish we would've always had that mindset. The funny thing is is that we started out like many homeschooling families. We tried to "imitate" a "school" at home. We had our flag up, our alphabet border and posters, our schedule. We quickly abandoned the schedule and found our rythym to our day. We delved into our Kindergarten Unit Study from My Father's World and loved it! We spent our days discovering God's Creation while learning the alphabet, days of the week, art, science, and math! MFW curriculum was great for our preschoolers to do along with us as well! And we did join a small homeschool co-op at our church.
Looking back that very first morning taught me more about "how" and "what" homeschool should look like in our home than anything else. Just before we started off, we got a phone call to turn on the TV. The first of the twin towers had just been hit. We watched in terror as the scene we all know played out. I can't remember if I sent the kids upstairs to play or what, but when our morning "school" time started, it was with tears in our eyes as we said the "Pledge of Allegience". Our morning got off on a different schedule that day, but nothing was more important than stopping and praying for our country and the lives that were lost. Taking the time for "real" life, unscripted, and God-led should've always been my focus, but sadly I let alot of other things creep in.
Sadly, I started to compare myself, my family, my children to other homeschooling families. I had a lot of growing up to do during this time. But it was very hard not to compare myself to others when I was feverishly trying to see what everyone else was doing. Making sure I was "doing" this right. That I had the right curriculum. And so on! It was exhausting. And I paid for this constant compraring dearly! I lost some of the JOY! I couldn't let myself believe that I already had everything that God needed to do this job. To trust Him and enjoy the process! It's alot of pressure! It's alot of letting "go" and relying on Him! To take the time to find out by just "playing" with each child, their learning style. And then I found out that I had a distinct teaching style as well.
I learned the hard way that OUR family will not now or ever look like anyone else's. Try as I might, we are not a Norman Rockwell family (not that I even want that). My children bicker and fight (heaven forbid). There are belches at the dinner table (gasp! followed by "excuse me"). There is "not" so appropriate dinner conversations going on around our table. My older three have never "taken" to music (There goes the idea of a traveling music tour!) Doing daily devotions is not something that comes easily for me, therefore, my children (cringe!). Does that make us any less Godly? NO. Does God judge my family because this is who we are? NO. Believe me HE created this Crazy Funny Farm in the first place! In some homeschooling groups I know there is quite a high expectation for others. Or do I put it on myself and again assume that "they" have it all together?
Although internally I was struggling, we had a blast. We built forts. Jumped in puddles. Grew a small garden in our neighborhood garden. Read books snuggled on the couch. Watched Bible Stories on video. Listened to Adventures In Odyssey tapes. (Tapes and videos? What are those?) Made models of the earth and moon and participated in the science fair. And so much more.
That about sums up our first year in Kindergarten. Next will be our Adventures and Misadventures of First Grade.
This year we will have one starting High School. One starting Middle School. And one still in Elementary.
Our older three peeps will be attending public school at least this school year as we are praying about bringing them home again and preparing for the higher grade curriculum for next year.
So, why can't the Chickies (our triplets) and I still plan school at home this fall? Granted they will be only two, but they are ready to have some structured "play/learning" time. Plus this Mama Hen loves Fall and Fall is my favorite time of year to teach. So much of God's creation is out there to explore. I love visiting the same lake every season so all my peeps can see the changes all around them. Making leaf rubs. Waxing leaves to hang around the house. Baking leaf cookies. Chili and stews simmering all day long. Wearing rainboots and jumping in puddles. Reading books under a blanket fort. I could go on and on. So why not do something I love? Why wait until they are 4 or 5?
We are praying about what and how much to be involved in this year.
Tot-School - Very excited about this fun way to plan and track more sturctured playtime which of course equals learning time. Tot School Link
MOPS - I was invited to a MOPS group down the street and am still not sure if this is what I need. I miss my Women's Bible Studies so much, especially Beth Moore, and I think I will be fed more there than at MOPS. But my hubby has encouraged me to give it a try. We are still not settled in a church home yet, so it's important for me to make some friendships closer to home. When my older three were babies we spent a few years at MOPS and it served a great purpose in my life then and I made 2 great long-time friends there. Then while homeschooling Peep2&3, before I was too pg with the triplets, we served as MOPPET workers for the MOPS at the church we were attending. It was great fun and a great learning experience for Peep2&3 to serve others. "A" actually said the other day, when she found out I was going to MOPS this Fall, that she wants to be homeschooled again! Little does she know that will happen next year!
Then there is the great Indoor Play Park I found last spring! It is held in a church that opened it's sanctuary up from Monday to Thursday everyweek. I can drop in anytime between 10 and 2pm! And it averages about $3 a week for all of us! How great is that? We will definetly be doing this. But it is one more place for the Chickies to be exposed to illnesses.
Then of course we have the church nursery on Sundays and playdates here and there. With our Triplets group it seems like we get together less during the winter, so that will lessen our activities. If you knew me, you'd know that I'm spontaneous and like to be on the go. I have to plan to stay home instead of leaving the house. And Peep5's first sentence was "Let's Go"...I wonder where she gets it?
So that's just the plans I have for the Chickies. I'll post more later about the Peeps. What we've done in the past. What curriculums we've used. What works for us and doesn't. How to homeschool Dyslexic children and what our state thinks about the "D" word. Finding WHO I AM thru homeschooling. Unschooling. Where we're heading with the older kiddos. And so much more!
The main reason for this blog is so that I can journal one of the most important subjects in the lives of my children, thus my life! Maybe through journaling I will find a sense of where we've been, remember how God has led us, where my heart is now and where this journey will take us in the future. My prayer is that I hear the voice of my Lord, Jesus Christ, LOUD and CLEAR re: teaching and discipling the most precious gifts this side of heaven. I am the proud Mom to 6 kids and counting! We currently are a public school/ homeschooling family. I'll post more on that later.
We've had our ups and downs when it's come to our childrens' educations, thus the Title of this Blog.....and some will agree and others, I'm sure, will vehemetly disagree with some of our decisions. But just know that none of our schooling decisions were made without the loud & clear direction from God and hours on our knees in prayer. And one of the most important of all is that my hubby and I have been in agreement re: these decisions! I could not, nor would I want to do this on my own. I need to know that God is in control and that I have the support of my husband, especially when times are tough. My hubby is my biggest cheerleader.
I'm blessed to be able to say that we are "Homeschooling" our 22month old triplets from birth and that we have homeschooled all of our older 3 at one time or another. And I'm excited to watch God unfold His plans, to both Hubby and I, to lead at least 2 of our older ones back home in the near future!
Psalm 34:1-8 "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant;their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is that man who takes refuge in him."
Welcome to our blog where I spend time here and there capturing the moments of our happy and crazy journey called, LIFE! Our family was designed by God thru the miracle of Foster Adoption (6months, 6weeks, & 4days) and Embryo Adoption (I delivered triplets at 33.3 wks)! God's dream for our family is now our reality!