Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Um.. Hi Mom. What was I supposed to say?

Mom, what is this?

Oooooo, pretty! Oh - Mom, was I supposed to be doing something?

Merry Christmas from The Bookworms!

(By the way, because we are the Bookworms, I feel obligated to tell you that if The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey isn't part of your Christmas book collection, you need to pick it up! It's a beautiful story about how Jesus, a little boy, and his widowed mother change the heart and the life of a grumpy widower.)

And also, aren't my mother-in-law's tree and staircase lovely?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Electricity, UncaBilly, and Christmas Cheer

Though I didn't mention it, the ice store knocked out our power for about five days. I do, however, have VERY generous in-laws who allowed us to occupy the second story of their house for the duration. So, we all had a bed to sleep in. It made for a very interesting week. At least the roads weren't bad - we were able to get out during the day and travel around town fairly well.

This week, UncaBilly has come to visit. He took #2 out for the afternoon - they went hiking. It was apparently great fun and included frog-spotting, rock-tossing, and an unplanned swim - #2 got a bit too close. We were very blessed that he can keep afloat.

We've worked a bit on Christmas school - parts of Live And Learn's Grinch lapbook and a nativity lapbook. For the rest of the week, we'll be working on Hands of a Child's Christmas Cheer lapbook. And then we're taking a week off. Currant read-alouds include Mr. Popper's Penguins and The Best Christmas Pagent Ever.

But right now I'm going to sleep.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ice Age

Our pretty shade tree in the front yard:

#2's favorite climbing tree:

Random areas of the South side of Bookwormsville:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Update on Bookworm #3

Here's #3. He's busy. He's 21 months old, and he thinks he's five years old like #2. He climbs anything and everything. I snapped this picture to remind me of the rare occasion of him going THROUGH the tunnel instead of OVER it.

He is the king of the one-word sentence. "Shoes. On." "Lights. Off." And my favorite: "Whole-deeeeee!" (Hold me, please. I need a snuggle.)

And there is so, so much more I could say about this little boy - but I STILL need that shower and the Bookworm King just handed me a paper to proofread, so I'm signing off for the night.

I was updating you - so there were three posts in one night. However, in the future, ya'll will be getting snippets, remember, and that is ok. It's appropriate for my season, and it's OK.

Update on Bookworm #4

See these baby blues? He looks just like #2 did at this age (7 months, by the way). Only #4 is happy - #2 pretty much cried until he learned to crawl.... which #4 is doing rapidly. He has reverse down pat. Forward motion should be forth-coming - maybe the wrapping paper will get him going on Christmas morning. Lord knows there will be a ton of it available to play with.

#4 is just sweet - he loves to snuggle, he chews on his toys, he laughs, he chows down on both fruits and veggies - but he doesn't like rice cereal. His brothers think he's some kind of living action figure - and sometimes he's a bump in their road or a boulder on their train track.

Again I could say much more, but I still need to go take that shower...

Update on Bookworm #2

Look at those beautiful blue eyes! This is one place you can usually find my energetic Bookworm #2 - he's swinging from a tree in the backyard. And he is happy, so very happy, when he is OUT. IN is very hard for him - he is the epitome of boy - one definition I've read is "a noise with dirt on it." While he has many other wonderful qualities, that is definitely true. He likes to make messes - but he also likes to help clean them up. He has the muddiest pants in the history of the world, but he loves to help load and unload the washing machine. He tracks in more outdoors than he leaves out, but he likes to vacuum. He's a wonderful helper.

As for school, he's reading pretty well - when he wants to, and he's learning the additions facts and coming along in mathematical know-how - when he wants to. He loves to be read to. He hates to write. He wants to know, but he doesn't want to work. This has left me trying to find a balance in our homeschool between having school and working with his whims. He is only five. There is no reason for us to stress over school. I am more concerned with him ENJOYING learning and wanting to know more and read more than I am with filling out workbook pages and doing math problems. SO, I've made some adjustments in our homeschool to accommodate him - because he's the only student at the moment, and the whole program can revolve around him and his needs. We've swung way more towards the ideals of a Charlotte Mason education - but that is another post.

His behavior is coming under control. Temper tantrums are rare now, and obedience is quickly becoming a habit. (Hallelujah!)

There is much more to say about this enthusiastic bookworm, but I need to go take a shower.

I am giving myself permission...

I love to write. It's just as easy for me to blog as it is to write anywhere else since I'm anal about grammar and spelling and usch regardless of where I'm writing or for whom.

I had all these grand plans to post book reviews, to write interesting things that others would read, to post things that might help others.

Obviously that isn't God's plan for my blog

because I haven't posted in two months.

I've had things to say, but this isn't my season for brainiac blog posting.


I'm refining my vision for my blog. This is going to be a catalog of events - photographs and verbal snapshots of our family and our activities and such. You will often find here, a day in the life. You'll find things I want to remember - a scrapbook, in many cases, of events and moments that I never want to forget (yes, my nerdy husband makes sure that my blog is periodically backed-up)

I'm giving myself permission to post one paragraph in a day - or a picture and a sentence - or a series of snapshots with no words at all.

Life in this season is moving so quickly that I can't take it all in. I'm missing memories right and left - and I have to get them recorded. I love to crop, but scrapbooking isn't fitting in well right now. We'll see if I can do better by just blogging often instead of blogging deep thoughts and important decisions.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Because I haven't posted any lately...

and because our beloved UncaBilly is about to leave his laptop behind as he sojourns in the wilderness for a week, I'll show you all an hour in our lives...

Yesterday, while the baby was sleeping,

We painted,

and painted some more. And then I answered the phone...

I'm not sure it was a good idea (by the way - that's paint, not blood)

I will spare you the next two hours - during which there were baths and then #3 napped and #2 sat in timeout for painting his brother and I cleaned up. And then #2 watched a movie and I fell into my chair and dozed until a baby cried because painting wore me out. It just plain wore me out.


Whatcha taking another picture for, Mom?

#2's first written note. Can you see what it says? Look carefully.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dare to Move...

As I mentioned, we have had an interesting season at our church that has left us tired - worn out - in need of spiritual renewal. And we've been seeking the Lord about whether we are to stay in this exhausting situation or move on.

And, I have to report, that He has answered us in a His subtle and mighty way. We have bowed out of our committees and we're moving. Two or three weeks ago, we visited "the Bible study church" and heard an amazing message called "Dare to Move" - get out of your comfort zone and minister. I was thinking in my own little brain - this is it. God's will for us is to join this church - which is wonderfully friendly and has made room for us in both their women's ministry and in their Awana program. But I didn't say anything, as I wanted to follow my sweet husband's led - and I think that sometimes he listens to me too much. I knew either of our two candidate churches would be good for our family, and I wanted to leave things up to him.

He has had two meetings with the leadership of the other church - one just to ask questions - he tagged along on a friend's lunch date with the church's local pastor - and the other to discuss a dream that God has put on his heart. His dream will find support in this congregation - plus they may be able to use his expertise in another area to improve somethings. So, this is our new church. We went to the new member's seminar last night and wound up joining the church in one accord and with complete peace in our spirits.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Novel Idea.

For the past six months, we've been getting up on Sunday and going to the church at the I grew up in and then going to (the local campus) in the evening. At the church I grew up in, we see some friends, enjoy our Sunday school class, deal with an unhappy child, sit through a service during which my sweet hubby nearly always nods off and my mind always wanders away. The morning is rushed and completed by a frantic drive across town to arrive barely-on-time, if not late. We are typically exhausted and whiny (even the adults). We learn little. We come home (or go to my mom's) and crash for a bit - and don't accomplish anything. We pack everyone back in the car and go to LifeChurch, where we have always heard an applicable sermon and where our children are happy and learning. #2 can nearly always narrate the lesson back to us in the car on the way home and sometimes even a few days later.

This morning, the Bookworm King announced that we were staying home from my childhood church and just going to the evening service at LifeChurch.

It was a lovely day. He let me sleep in a bit. We had a relaxed morning (the only one in the past week). We enjoyed each other. I did the school planning for the next few weeks and wrote the menu and updated the calendar and made a grocery list. He played with the boys. Then we ate lunch, and I supervised naptime while he worked. We went to church. He bathed the boys and I went to the grocery store. He's paying the bills and I'm writing this. And we're going to be in bed by 10:30 knowing that we are ready for tomorrow.

I'm truly thankful that God let him in this direction. We actually had a restful Sabbath in spite of the fact that we both did quite a bit of necessary work in preparation for the week. And I'm feeling incredibly peaceful in my spirit. I wonder if this path will continue.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Date Interrupted.

It started at 7:30 this morning - My sweet DH was going to take the van to Hibdon to get the additional new tired that it needed. He took #2 with him, and Mimi and Popsy were planning to meet them to actually purchase the tires because that was a birthday/anniversary gift for us. Then they were going to borrow #3 and #2 so that we could take #4 and go to Borders to spend the Bookworm King's birthday gift certificates.

Yeah. That was our plan.

If you remember the last Hibdon story, you know that we got the front tires replaced three months ago, and that God provided wonderfully for a grand rescue from a raining highway just south of civilization.

What I didn't say in that story was that my dad rescued me twice - once from the boys during the wait on the tire, and once from a mistake that Hibdon made that was financially beneficial for them and bad for me. So, when the King and #2 left this morning, I cautioned them to make sure that the job was done right.

It wasn't. And they didn't notice.

The counter-girl rang up the order wrong and the pit crew followed directions even though they should have questioned them - so we had two new tires on the front - again - and the same old tires on the back.

The King went on to Borders because it was his money and he needed time to shop. I took #2 and #3 to Mimi and went to fix the tire problem. The funny thing is that by the time the job was done right, Hibdon had sold me six tires for the price of four and done the labor necessary four times instead of two - and then I firmly and politely asked for a discount because they had wasted my time - not once, but twice. So it came down to six new Firestone tires for the price of three, labor paid twice instead of four times. If they were trying to swindle me, I'd say I won at that game.

Ya'll I can just see my dad grinning as he thinks about it. He was mad when I told him the story, but I know he was impressed that I asked for that discount.

ANYWAY - back to the date. I met up with the King, who apologized for not checking things out and bought me a peace offering (Cinnamon latte, yum.) not that that was necessary. The date was short but sweet. We discussed his purchases and I drooled over King Arthur Whole Grain Baking and hinted that I want it ASAP (there really wasn't much hinting there.) Coffee was yummy. #4 was dozy. Conversation was nice - but the date was cut short because of the tire debacle - Mimi and Popsy need to get to the game (I'm sure their presence and the appropriate shouting of "Orange" and "Power" contributed to the 39-3 win - Go Pokes!). Got to the register and found that the birthday money was downtown at the office.

But, he and #2 were planning a trip downtown for a birthday party anyway, so it was decided that they'd pick the wallet up on the way home. I brought the babies home for nap time. (I love nap time. I had a bit of a doze myself). I made mushroom-swiss burgers for dinner with hot dogs for the kids. The King and I ate while #2 and #3 got clean in the tub. That was part two of the date - dinner conversation. About a half hour later, there was more conversation in the car on the way to Borders to actually buy the books and but on the way home we got sucked into a conversation about WHO was going to bed WHEN and with or without stories. The outcome of that - #2 was the first to bed but the last to sleep - and he did get some stories, but he had to lay in his bed and listen from afar. There was more conversation over dessert and some over laundry folding and the watching of The Pirate of the Caribbean (1), which I had never seen.

Weirdest Date Day we ever had - but it was fun. God has blessed me with a wonderfully flexible man - lends a good bit of flexibility to my daily routine.

So, in short (and in order) - children grandparented, doughnuts eaten, tires fixed, books sought, coffee drunk, kids retrieved, naps taken, birthday partied, wallet procured, dinner fixed, burgers eaten, bookworms washed, books purchased, babies tucked, stories read, boy snoring, laundry folded, movie watched, Jack victorious, hubby happy, and now to bed.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A better day.

We did something novel today.

We stayed home.

We did a bit of cleaning, a bit of cooking, a bit of school, some outdoor play, lots of indoor play, played with some friends, did a bit of mess making, and bit of napping (hallelujah!) and just enjoyed each other. This evening, we had a car picnic at Sonic and went to buy some groceries. We got home at bedtime.

It was a much better day.

That is about the most mundane blog post I've ever read, but that's all I've got. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oh, what a Thursday.

Oh my.
Got up.
Got ready.
Packed for a week.
Went to the picture studio.
Did pictures.
Waited on digital stuff to load.
Waited some more
Waited some more
Waited even longer
Choose my purchases.
Waited to pay
Waited longer
Ate lunch with Mimi and Gram at Panera Bread.
Came back (#2 went to Mimi's)
Napped the babies
Had short playdate with a new friend who has twins who #3's age
Sent them home.
Packed up again.
Hugged #2 hello.
Kissed my husband hello.
Loaded up and went to dinner and a small group meeting at a friend's house.
Dinner was tasty
Meeting was OK.
#2 did NOT have a successful evening - refused to go to timeout in his carseat and got himself into all sorts of trouble.
Came home - got kids bathed.
#3 tripped and split his chin - gaping and bleeding
Went to Children's Urgent Care.
Got him glued back together.
Came home
Put him to bed
Put #4 to bed
Ate chocolate cake
Typed this.
Answered email.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our Wednesday

We got up at 3am because of a thunderstorm. Most of us were back to sleep by 5am - except for DH, who woke up at 6am as happy as a lark - because he got a full night's sleep. :) I hope it does him good. I took a nap from 6-8am. Praise the Lord for his boss, who doesn't make him keep a strict schedule.

We did school, and then the boys and I went to the library for Storytime.

The plan was to proceed directly to Borders (it's Educator Sale week) to spend my birthday gift certificates. But there was great hunger in the ranks that caused monkey-like behavior in the library, and so we stopped at Arby's on the way and then had a picnic-in-the-car. Then they managed to behave like human beings in Borders. I rewarded them with a snickerdoodle in the cafe - and treated myself to a cup of maple-white-chocolate-coffee yumminess. Then Drew hid from me and lost all his privileges. (Imagine?!)

I redeemed my birthday bucks for:

Handbook of Nature Study
Nourishing Traditions
Geography of the World

There are so many books on my list, yet most of them are available through my beloved local library. It's hard to figure out what books I want to own and which ones are nice to borrow. I've been thinking about these purchases for two weeks.

Monday, September 24, 2007

It's been a whole month...

I'm not a very good blogger, as a blogger must blog to be a blogger, and I've been good at a lot of things, but blogging hasn't been one of them.

HOWEVER, I've been busy with the important work of motherhood, and I've been instructed by my husband to take better care of myself, which has meant more rest and reading in the evenings and less time blogging. I'm a bit rundown after two pregnancies in two years. Mostly, I've been enjoying my children and teaching and training them and loving them and laughing with them and being amused by them. (Who would fail to be amused by a five-year-old singing, "And this next song will be the best song I ever made up..." in the back of the van?)

So, (in no particular order) the things I've been up to...
1. Homeschooling - #2 is enjoying his trip through the US and the books from Sonlight Core C. He's proud of his Trip notebook, his reading is improving rapidly, and he's memorizing lots of scripture for Awana. He's fallen in love with Math-U-See.

2. Cooking from scratch - my stomach is not appreciating corn to an entirely new degree, so I'm having to be more careful about what I eat. #2 has been showing major behavior improvement with the decline of preservatives and additives in his diet, so that has me wondering. #3 does my heart good by eating everything and asking for more. #4 is a little chowhound, too. The whole mess has me spending more time on food prep than I really have time for, but a system is in the works.

3. Bible study - My group started the new version of Beth Moore's "A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place." There might be several posts on that forthcoming if I get regular time to blog.
I also have weekly memory work to do because I'm helping in a class at Awana.

4. Childcare - with a five-year-old and two babies, this is taking most of my time - but it is fun (mostly).


Oh my, there is so much more, but it's past my bedtime, and there is no telling when I'm going to be summoned by someone.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Love letter

Dear King of Bookworms,

I've tried to call you several times to tell you that the dryer won't stop running unless the door is open, but the nice lady who answers says that your number has been disconnected.

Would you please look into this - the phone, that is, because since you aren't in the office today, it would be nice to know that I could contact you in a emergency or to remind you that Bookworm #2 and I need to be at Awanas at 6, so dinner will be at 5pm tonight - though I would like your permission to call The Appliance Guy about the dryer - the whole dryer problem frustrates me because six weeks ago, when the troublesome washer died and the wonderful, never-gives-us-a-problem dryer was dutifully spinning when asked and resting when it wasn't needed, we could have purchased the dryer to match the washer for $500 more than we paid for just the washer, and because we didn't, and now, if The Appliance Guy can't fix the dryer, we'll have to pay $800 for the same dryer we could have gotten for $500 six weeks ago - not that we had the $800 or the $500, but at least we wouldn't have to worry about the house burning down because someone forgot to leave the dryer OPEN. So, can I please pray that The Appliance Guy can fix the dryer cheaply (like under $100) and then call him to come fix it?

Of course, right now the dryer is supposed to be running because it is full of fluffy clean diapers. And then it can run for another 40 minutes to fluff up our nice clean clothes. It's a regular Fluff and Fold in our house today.

The sweet baby just smiled at me, and I know that you will still come home for dinner at 5pm in spite of this email (which is about to become, with your permission, a blog post that will cause moms to smile because they have been there and done that) and just knowing you'll come home makes me swoon.

I love you very, very much.

Queen of Bookworms

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So much to blog, so little time.....

OK - I don't really have time to post anything, but I wanted to make a list of things I'd like to write, and it makes sense to make it here.

1. #3 and the Italian cream cake
2. Photo updates
3. Summer reading update and Book reviews
4. Greek chicken recipe for Barbara
5. Basic school subject plan
6. Reviews of HOAC Little Miss Muffet, Katy and the Big Snow, Jesus Loves the Little Children, and Beginning Reading (gee, that's list in itself)
7. Review of Language Lessons for Little Ones from Queen Homeschool
8. several posts for the Flat Stanley project
9. The Oklahoma Unit

And since I'm writing, I'll tell you that #2 is very busy as usual, #3 is developing a naughty streak that is pretty darn cute - it's difficult not to laugh at him, but I try hard, and #4 is very sweet and getting big and getting grumpy because he's been laying in my lap as I type.

Here's #2 in a very appropriate shirt. (It says, "THIS is my secret identity.")

#3 signs adamantly, "More PLEASE" (with both hands) because he LIKES Italian Cream Cake even if it has more chemical ingredients in it than he is usually given.

And here are #2 and #3 making #4 smile. Isn't he a cutie! (By the way, he's sporting a Bumgenius one-size diaper - if you are wondering how the BG1 fits a 15 pound boy, rest assured that it fits pretty well.)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Back to Homeschool Part 5

LinkRandi at I have to say... is hosting Back to Homeschool week. She's put forth one question for each day this week.

Friday, August 10---Curriculum
What curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a "gem" that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?

We did My Father's World Kindergarten last year. It was fun, but I modified the language arts portion a LOT. The unit study part was wonderful, and we both enjoyed learning about different aspects of Creation. But I learned that it is better for my kiddo to have his basic separate from his unit study. He also did Singapore Early Bird Math 2A and 2B. Our waste-of-money for the year was the purchase of the first unit of Rod and Staff Language Arts for first grade. There was WAY too much workbook work for my kid. Might work for others, but didn't work for use at all.

This year we are using (very loosely) the Advanced Kindergarten Language Arts from Winter Promise with readers from both Winter Promise Adv K LA and Sonlight LA 1. Math is Horizons Math K. Both are working very nicely.

We are currently working on some lapbook units from our backlog of products from In the Hands of a Child. They are much enjoyed.

In two weeks or so we will start our unit study on geography and cultures. I've complied it from Galloping the Globe, Cantering the Country, Five in a Row, HomeschoolShare, and Sonlight Core C. We are using some notebooking products and lapbooking products to create a scrapbook of our journey. It should be fun.

Know what? I have to be up again in 5.5 hours. I need to go to bed!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Back to Homeschool part 4

Randi at I have to say... is hosting Back to Homeschool week. She's put forth one question for each day this week.

Thursday, August 9---If I had only known...
What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!

I know that by homeschooling, I'm doing what I am called to do for these children at this time. Now, if I'd know that #2 comes within 9/10's of an inch of being as stubborn as I am, I don't know that I would have started. Or I might have quit on Monday when it took 7 HOURS and 32 MINUTES for him to write the words fan, fill, and fat. As long as I'm a smidgen more stubborn than he is, it will be fine. For the record, for the 7.5 hours, he had NO privileges at all. Water. A basic lunch. Trips to the potty. A total of two hours sitting on his bed with no toys while I dealt with babies and couldn't make sure he was sitting at the table with his Language Arts for Little Ones workbook. No electricity. No nothing. That was a really hard seven hours for both of us. But, he does now know that any assignment is required. Every other day this week, he's finished all of his work in under thirty minutes thanks to a game called, "Beat the clock" in which he can win screen time. Now the work just magically gets done in a short time - or at least it has the past two days. We'll see if it happens again tomorrow.

I also didn't know that my mom wouldn't completely support the idea or that my mother-in-law would quietly but adamantly oppose it. Hopefully, their hearts will be turned towards homeschooling over the next couple of years. Because we do see them both several times a week, it will be easier if they are on board with the idea.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Back to Homeschool part 3

Randi at I have to say... is hosting Back to Homeschool week. She's put forth one question for each day this week.

Wednesday, August 8---Getting out there...
Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc...

Like I said, I have little kids. We have friends, and in the past we've just hung out with them - playdates and park days and such. We go to THREE different churches during a week (sounds nuttier than it is). We go to StoryTime at the library, the grocery stores, the local parks, the zoo, and the aquarium. We spend so much time going that I have to be careful to get schoolwork done on a daily basis.

I haven't joined a homeschool group or a co-op yet, though we've been to the park with one local group, and we will probably go again. Other co-ops in this area are very formal, and at this point, we just need kids to play with at the park. After all, most social interactions can be taught there.

#2 is good at making friends and meeting people. He will go up to the lady at the bakery counter in the local SuperTarget and ask for cookies for he and his brother quite politely and actually share one of the two cookies with #3. He typically will talk to anybody - particularly about garage doors - he's a garage door connoisseur. We are working at home on things like personal space and appropriate conversation. Little brothers give lots of opportunity for how to treat people. I am reading Scott Turansky's book Saying Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids, so we have had many conversations about honor lately.

We also have family in town. Well, that might be an understatement. We have 65 relatives in this city. Sometimes that's good - at Thanksgiving, it can be overwhelming (just try eating Thanksgiving dinner three or four times in one day). Of the relatives, the two sets of grandparents are seen several times each week. There are large family gatherings every month. It gets a bit wild, but it presents many more social opportunities.

Overall, I want my children to treat people right - to honor others. Right now, as young as #2 is, I do my best to keep him with children from other families that teach similarly. As he grows, there will be plenty of time to meet people. Right now, sheltering him a bit isn't a bad thing. He's quite the social creature, so we haven't picked out a sport or an instrument for him yet, but it will come in time.

Back to Homeschool part 2

Randi at I have to say... is hosting Back to Homeschool week. She's put forth one question for each day this week.

Tuesday, August 7---How do you homeschool?
Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...

Hmmm. I answered most of these in this post. In general, we are pretty eclectic. In philosophy, I lean toward a Charlotte Mason/Classical education sort of thing. We read a LOT. Reading aloud is a part of every day in several sessions. It is great fun. The King and I have a great affection for the printed word, and we are passing that right along to our children. We have taught ourselves a lot of things by reading, and we want to pass that skill along as well.

How do I teach with babies? Well, it's a little easier for me than some because all mine are young. I do most of the teaching during naptime. Next year, when #3 is only taking one nap, it will be interesting. For right now, teaching during naptime works.

We play "Beat the Clock" a lot. #2 tries to get his seatwork down (neatly and accurately) before the timer beeps. I give him about twice the time I think he COULD do it in if he just sat and did it, but it is getting his schoolwork actually done in two 30 minute sessions instead of it taking two hours to get halfway done.

As for teaching an advanced for his age child, we just do the next thing. When he is ready to go on, we go on. When he needs to linger somewhere for a bit, we linger. When he decides that he wants to know more about..... we go look it up.

Back to Homeschool part 1

Randi at I have to say... is hosting Back to Homeschool week. She's put forth one question for each day this week. I'm already two days behind, so we'll see if I can catch up.

What led to your decision to homeschool?
Why do you do what you do? What brought you to homeschooling? What factors played a part in your decision?
Well, this could be a long story. Let me begin by saying that we feel called by God to homeschool. We firmly believe that this is His best for our family. That is the number one, largest, neon sign reason to teach our children at home. If this were not the number one reason, I would not pursue this very difficult task that requires so much sacrifice on my part.

The other reasons follow.

1. I have a hunk of an education degree. While I was doing my classroom observations, I had a good look at about 10 different classrooms in this state. I watched the smart kids get ignored, the not-so-smart ones get pampered, the average ones get bored, and the rowdy ones making everything difficult for everybody. The kids were overall nice to each other, but learning was difficult at best, and in some cases, teaching was nearly non-existent because so much time was spent on discipline. This was the same old environment - the one I'd grown up in - and if no one could have made changes in it by now, then I wouldn't be able to change it either, and I didn't want to put my kids into it. When I changed degree programs, my then-fiance-now-husband and I had a serious talk about how our children would be educated. We decided on private schools. That was when we thought we'd be DINKs for a few years before we had kids. Once we were married, we were pregnant in five months. Private schools? Who can afford that? It wasn't just the price - the situation isn't that much better at private schools.

2. As children, my husband and I both spend a lot of time at the head of the class and bored. We each had a constructive way of dealing with the boredom, but it was frustrating to have to wait for everybody else when we were ready to move on (different schools, same city). We live in the same area we were public-schooled in. In most cases, the public schools here have stunk and still stink. Systems are badly organized. All but the average kids are overlooked. No Child Left Behind actually made the problem worse instead of better.

3. When we were asked to put Bookworm#1 into the public school system to receive therapies after he aged out of the early childhood program for kids with special needs, we had all the meetings. We met all the people. It was got for about six months. I did not sign the medical release form that allowed them contact with our doctors without our knowledge or participation. Then someone from "The System" called the pediatrician's office we used and asked a doctor who had never seen #1 if he could come to school full-time instead of receiving therapy at home. The doctor apparently agreed to it, though we hadn't, and the large group of specialists hadn't. So, the school canceled all of our home therapy and said that if he wasn't in their building from 9am-3pm five days a week, they didn't have to do anything for him. The geneticist, cardiologist, and our regular, beloved pediatrician just about came unglued. And that is putting it lightly - The King and I were livid. We withdrew him from the system, and we definitely will not put any of our children into THIS sneaky public school system ever. Should they need to go to public school, we will move first.

4. Because we like to keep our children with us. We like them (most of the time) and we love them completely all of the time. We want to have a strong family - for our children to be close friends, and to enjoy each other. We want them to have lots of time for childhood, so we want to teach them at their own paces a little bit at a time and enjoy the years we have with them. We want to watch every step of their learning process and see the light bulbs coming on. We want them to learn to be themselves and to interact with all ages of people and to love all people. We want to teach them to love Jesus and to think and to reason and to love people and show Jesus to them. We want to teach them how to teach themselves and to love learning.

5. We are history and science buffs who want more time to learn - and it will be fun to study as a family.

Monday, August 6, 2007

On the Dinner Table...

Since a big part of successful dinner preparation is having a plan....

Sunday: Charlie's Chicken after church. No cooking. :)
Monday: Greek chicken, Zucchini and Yellow Squash, Brown Rice, Grapes
Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Garlicky Spinach, other fruits and veggies that need eating
Wednesday: Tacos with Ground Beef, Cheese, Veggies and Whole Wheat Tortillas, fruit (Produce Shopping Day)
Thursday: Honey Dijon Chicken, broccoli, fruit, Pasta
Friday: Macaroni and cheese, smoked sausage, green beans, fruit
Saturday: Leftovers

Of course, there are variations on the above to accommodate the kids, but this is what my sweet hubby and I will be eating.

Maybe now that the baby fell asleep on me while I was typing the other two ornery bookworms will give me enough time to finish putting together the salad I was making for lunch and EAT it. I'm starving. I've been trying to get the salad eaten for over two hours. But I withstood the call of their lunch plates, gosh darn it.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Homeschool Open House

Tiany is hosting the Homeschool Open House on her blog. You ought to check it out. Here's what our homeschool might look like in the coming year.

Welcome to our Backyard! The Bookworm King and I currently have three blessings living in our house, and one, our eldest, who lives with Jesus. We started reading about homeschooling when I was pregnant with our first, and we got serious with the research during our first experience with our local school district - which comes early when your oldest son is born medically fragile and developmentally delayed. It didn't take us long to discover that we didn't want anything to do with the public school system.

We actually started homeschooling during the past school year. #2 enjoyed My Father's World Kindergarten, and he learned a lot. He mastered reading CVC words and is continuing to progress with his reading. He completed Singapore Early Bird Math 2A and 2B. He CAN form all the letters of the alphabet correctly, but handwriting is very difficult for him. He enjoyed some lapbooking a la Hands of a Child, and we made an ABC book to go with MFW K. Overall, it was a good time.

This fall, we will be starting a K-5 year. He's working though Horizons Kindergarten Math, Explode the Code 1, 2 and 3, and Language Arts for Little Ones (finish volume two and start volume three). He'll be reading the Nora Gaydos readers and readers from Sonlight's LA 1.

For a unit study, we'll be taking a trip around the world, starting at our front door with a two week study of our great state of Oklahoma and then moving around the US by region before we really embark on a tour of the globe. We'll be reading on the region/country of the week and taking a look at a biography and a science topic having to do with that area. I hope it's fun. The goal is to expose him to basic geography and different customs and cultures and peoples and languages and foods. Overall, it's meant to be an introduction to all the people God created - last year we looked at world God created, this year we'll continue by looking at many of the different peoples that inhabit His creation. I've written the reading schedule based on Galloping the Globe, but we are not going to be using many of the suggested materials because they are, quite simply, over the head of a five-year-old. We will be using the Marvels of Creation series by Buddy Davis (informative books about animals from a creation-science view) and Children Just Like Me, but the other resources on my schedule come from either the book-lists in Galloping the Globe and Cantering the Country, Five in a Row, and Homeschool Share, Sonlight Core C (formerly Core K), or Winter Promise Animal Worlds or My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.

Now, why would I do nutty thing like write my own reading list and schedule? That is pretty simple, actually. Three of these four programs are WAY beyond the abilities and desires of my kiddo, and in five years when we've made one time-traveling trip through history, I will probably return to geography as we add in two more students and then we will do either the MFW program or the Winter Promise programs. For now, I'm taking what will fit in with our lives and his abilities and moving on. We aren't looking for the details on this journey - just the basics and some exposure. And a program for a very curious five-year-old to circumvent the globe just doesn't exist yet.

Our days are very busy - with a five year old and two under two and a house to keep and meals to prepare, I am on the go from very early to semi-late every day. The only things that are seriously scheduled are rising times, bedtimes, and naptimes. Our routine looks somewhat like this:
5:00 am: the Queen rises, feeds the baby, meets with God, and heads over to the Y, drinking a breakfast smoothie on the way.
6:30 am: the King and the little bookworms get up, dress, empty the dishwasher, and make their breakfast (usually cheese omelets and something carb-y (toast or something from the freezer).
7:30 am: Breakfast. The Queen returns. The King gets his backpack, lunch, and gym bag packed and checks his email before heading out. (He'll be working out at lunch.)
8:00 am: The King leaves for work. The Queen takes over with the kids and starts laundry and the chores of the day.
9:00-11:00 am: Feeding baby. Naps for #3 and #4. Schoolwork for #2 (Language Arts and Math). Household chores
11:00 am - 2:00 pm: Any errands, outdoor play, playdates, field trips, or other travelling must be done at this time. If we are going to move to Gramma's house for the afternoon, we need to do it now. If there is nowhere to go, we just hang out, but with only three hours a day in which leaving the house is pleasant, there is usually somewhere to go.
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm: Feeding baby. Naps for #3 and #4. Schoolwork (unit study) and quiet time for #2 and I. I've also learned to cook dinner at this time.
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm: This is where things are REALLY crazy - Dinner needs to be finished. #2 is tired. #3 just got up and is VERY whiny. #4 woke up and is screaming hungry. Thank God for Clifford, who routinely cheers up #3 so that things don't totally fall apart.
6:00 pm: The King returns (Hallelujah! Didn't think I could hold things together a second longer) and we eat dinner.
7:00 pm: Showers and storytime for boys.
8:00 pm: Bedtime for kids
10:30 pm: Bedtime for the Queen
??:?? am: Bedtime for the King (this is improving - last week he was typically in bed by midnight).

And that, my friends, is what we think will be going on in our house for the next school year. We'll see how it goes and make changes as necessary.

If you'd like to know what's happening in other homeschools in the blogosphere, check out the links at Tiany's Open House.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What to feed the herd...?

Since a big part of successful dinner preparation is having a plan....

Sunday: Charlie's Chicken after church. No cooking. :)
Monday: Great-Grandmother Proctor's birthday party. No cooking. :) :)
Tuesday: Farfalle with Spinach, Garlic, and Grape Tomatoes, Grilled chicken, Grapes.
Wednesday: Pistachio-Crusted Catfish, Broccoli, Apples, Baguette
Thursday: Lemon Artichoke Chicken, Whole Wheat Pasta, Asparagus, Berries
Friday: Blackened Catfish Sandwiches, Sweet Potato Fries, Grapes
Saturday: Leftovers, Zucchini, Grapes and Berries

Of course, there are variations on the above to accommodate the kids, but this is what my sweet hubby and I will be eating.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Nine years

Last Wednesday, while I was at the lake with the boys and my sweet hubby was typing blisters onto his fingers, our ninth wedding anniversary passed. He called me that morning early while I was wrangling bookworms and said "Happy Anniversary!" And I said, "Sorry, I didn't know it was Wednesday." (I did know that Wednesday was our anniversary - I just thought it was Tuesday again like some sort of Groundhog Day phenomena.) We chatted a minutes and then I went back to my wrangling career and he went back to typing and on Friday we kissed and hugged and hung out together and then on Saturday afternoon (after I had slept a few hours and somewhat recovered from a week of wrangling without my strong, stable counterpart) we went on a date.

As in, HE hired his cousin K to come and wrangle #2 and #3 for a bit and we went OUT away from them. Of course, we did want K to agree to come again, so we took #4 with us - he was gracious enough to nap most of the time we were out.

We went to the mall to check out a new store that we wanted to see, but we couldn't find a parking place within 982 miles of an entrance and I got cranky about that and he suggested that we skip the mall and head over to our favorite bookstore for some browsing and beverages. The iced tea was delicious. And I fell in love with three new cookbooks but didn't buy any of them.

Then we went to a little sushi joint, which he had visited before, but I had not. It looked like a sushi bar inside - red wall, black trim, Kanji on the walls, and black lacquered tables and chairs, simple and clean and modern. And at the back was the sushi chef with his neat and symmetrical piles of pink and white fish and shellfish (some cooked, some not) and uniformly cut vegetables. We sat, the waitress came, and we ordered: seaweed salad, several pieces of nigiri and several rolled treats. And for dessert, he ordered me some green tea ice cream - and that was REALLY yummy. It was a good time had by all, including #4 who was adored by the waitresses.

Then we came home and got the little bookworms to bed and I wrote a blog post and he worked until bedtime. Romantic, huh?

It's been a fantastic nine years in spite of all that has happened. I love my man. He's just plain amazing. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I must complain..

I just spent 45 minutes updating my "Food for Thought" list, and then lost the changes. Grrrr....

My European city according to Blogthing

Here's what they think....

You Belong in Amsterdam

A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).

But they are wrong. There's this little village on the Mediterranean coast of Spain ...

To answer Comfy's question - book reviews :)

I didn't write a darn thing while we were at the lake. You see, efficient typing requires TWO hands, and I typically had only one available. However, we watched very little TV - mostly before 10am - and because I do NOT find Dora, Elmo, and Meteor and the Monster Trucks entertaining, I sat with the baby and read, except for the Cookie Monster segments - those still crack me up - especially Cookie attaching a huge chocolate chip creation to a rocket so he could fire it into space instead of consuming it - that struck home with me, as my mother and I ate an entire package of Oreos in under 24 hours. Yep, cookies are my downfall. Chocolate is a necessity, but one or two dark squares a day will do me. Cookies are dangerous things to have around.

So, here are a few very brief reviews:

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
This was a fantastic little read set in the 1660s in Holland. It is about Griet, who is a maid in the household of the artist Vermeer. The history is fascinating, as is the insight to art. Paperbackswap currently has 125 copies listed - go get one.

Sisterchicks do the Hula by Robin Jones Gunn
This was a fun book. Two women (one of them pregnant) are celebrating their 40th birthdays in Hawaii. It's 99% fluff, but it is enjoyable fluff. I complained that the first Sisterchicks book had some sudden didactic moments. This book is much improved. Again, it's available at Paperbackswap, so order it to read while you watch your kids run wild in the backyard.

The Quilter's Apprentice
and Round Robin by Jennifer Chiaverini
These are both part of the Elm Creek Quilt series, and I enjoyed them immensely. I am fascinated by quilts and quilting. I hope to learn how one day. But these novels are about far more than quilting. They are about family and friendships and community. There are several more in the series, but they are not available at PBS, you'll have to go to the library. I have the third in the series on reserve and hope to pick it up today. :)

The Magic Tree House Books by Mary Pope Osborne
Charlotte Mason would turn in her grave over these twaddly little chapter books, but my son loves them. There are some fun facts in each one, they introduce concepts in history and geography, and they promote literacy. However, "Jack said" and "Annie said" and "Morgan said." Jack could "shout," Annie could "whine," and Morgan could "announce." But no, they all just "said." If I were a new reader, I'd probably find the continual use of the word "said" comforting, but as an adult reading aloud, it nearly drove me batty and I began to change the word to something more appropriate and pleasing to the ear every time I came upon it. In a year or two when #2's reading ability allows him to enjoy them for himself, he'll be surprised to find "said" over and over again. Fun reads, though, with a smattering of education to them.

HA! I finished the post before #4 awoke from his morning nap. Off to feed him and read email before I return to my desk to browse through cookbooks and make a plan for grocerying and meal preparation for the next month or two.

Friday, July 27, 2007

What I did on my Summer Vacation

I worked hard. :) So did my mom - who, by the way, will soon be nominated for Sainthood. Not many Grammas are willing to help their daughters wrangle three sweet bulls in the china shop known as Mimi's Lake House for most of a week. Let me say, we did only have to glue one thing back together this time, though a poor lamp had his life threatened more than once (that would be the lamp that I've already repaired three times). I'll not tell you what we had to glue. It wasn't expensive. And I'm hoping Mimi will never notice. It was the principle of the thing that made us try to repair it at all. It's a cute little trinket - I hope the glue holds. :)

Anyway - now I'm home and tired and I want to go lay down with a book. But I'll leave you all with some pictures.

We inspected spider webs (that was actually schoolwork, since we are finishing up a spider unit - lapbook to be posted soon.)

We ate popsicles.

We swam and then we swam and then we swam some more. As in, we spent about 4 hours a day in the pool - with appropriate sunscreen, of course. None of us are burned a bit, but I bet that pool was lonely this afternoon.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I've been neglecting my blog, but I've been really busy.

I've been focusing on getting new routines in place and such around here. I've been making myself go to bed around 11 and get up at 5. That way, I'm still getting six hours of sleep, I'm up an hour before the boys. I get my Bible study and some prayer and reading time. And I'm working on exercising daily (swim three times a week and do Pilates with a video the other days). And it seems like I'd be tired, but it is increasing my energy level a lot. I've been avoiding the computer during the day except for occasional email checks. And working on getting a six week rotating menu set up complete with shopping lists. All of this to save my sanity. I set up a new laundry system - but that will be my next WFMW post. And we're working hard on first-time obedience and honor and respect among our family. It's been wild.

And I've been planning next year's home school. I need to do a little revamping and some serious personalizing on the schedule that I prepared while I was very pregnant. I need to plan out Math, Bible, and Language Arts. I need to schedule in some hands-on stuff and some lapbooking. I'm working on it.

And, because my mom has recently gather a bunch of her famous recipes to give as a wedding gift to some friends, I really want to take those recipes and type them up so that she can easily duplicate the project and so that I can have copies of all of them too. (See above mention of the menu project).

We also are having repairs done on our house (Termites. ew.) That would be on top of the new washing machine, repair for water damage, my father's ingenious drainage solution for our swampy yard, and general housework that has been neglected during the last few weeks of pregnancy and the postpartum brain fog. I'm determined to catch up before we actually start school at the end of August.

So, as you can see, the to-do list is much longer than the time available allows. And the blog is neglected.

But I'm about to go with my mom and the little Bookworms to the lake for a week (The King is staying here to work on some large projects of his own - and my dad will be around working on repairs.) On the last trip, I got a bunch of blog posts written and then posted them when I came back. Maybe I'll manage that again. Maybe I'll share a couple of my mother's amazing recipes, too. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WFMW: PaperbackSwap

After reading several other WFMW posts about PaperBack Swap, I decided to check it out. I'm happy to report that I spent one hour posting 53 books that we've had in a "on-the-way-out" box and not done anything with. Within 48 hours, 14 of them are now on their way to new owners, and I will soon have 14 book credits. I'm kind of excited at the prospect of 14 books for the price of shipping.

PaperBackSwap is a free service that matches people who want to read a book with people who are getting rid of the desired book. As implied by using the word "free,"
there is no cost for the books - except that you will be paying media mail shipping costs on the books you send out. That has, for the most part, varied between $2 and $3 a book.

Now I just have to figure out which 14 books I'd like to read next. Any suggestions?

Update: I wrote the above 4 weeks ago, and then lost it in the folder before I had time to post it on a Wednesday. In the past four weeks, I've received many books of excellent quality, and I've listed more and sent out more. This is great fun! I now have a bunch of new fiction and Christian fiction reading material, some of the readers #2 will enjoy over the next year, and some informational reading on a topic that has interested me lately.

You can find more Works-for-Me-Wednesday posts by visiting Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy Fifth Birthday #2!

Today was #2's Birthday!

He was thrilled with his breakfast of eggs and a chocolate-glazed Krispy Kreme donut that Daddy went out to procure last last night. That stack of packages? Those are his birthday books that I've been collecting for several months. I didn't take a picture of them after the paper was removed, but he was excited to have about 30 new books to read and have read to him. He got five toys from Mimi, who loves to shop, and Popsy. Gramma and Grampa treated him to a new family aquarium pass and a bucket of rubber sea creatures that are really cool. So, we decided to buy him books and only books. That way our family library got what it needed, and Drew now has a bunch of books to progress through as his reading skills grow over the next year.

Other pictures from today:

Friday, July 6, 2007

Our Mini Vacation

We spent the weekend at Mimi and Popsy's Lakehouse. And I forgot to take very many pictures. We had a lot of fun! I bet you all were wondering how on earth I got two books read and reviewed. We spent the weekend with no cable and no internet connection. I discovered that I can read a book and feed #4 at the same time. And there were three other adults around to manage #2 and #3. Plus, the boat is in for repair and it kept raining here and there and all of that was limiting activities, which was fine with me, because "air conditioning and a book" is much more my style.

So, it rained a lot. The lake is almost to the build line (as of Thursday), and it was high when we left on Tuesday. Thunderstorms were popping up three or four times a day and lasting about 20 minutes or so. So, it started sprinkling when we were heading up to the pool, and #4 and I returned to the house. A few minutes later, I snapped these shots:

And the the Bookworm King and #2 and #3 were back in the garage (can't swim if there's lightning).

Then after about 15 more minutes, the sun peaked out:

And the King and boys headed back to the pool while #4 and I hung out at the house.

That is our trip in a nutshell. We had a wonderful time, and we are hoping that Mimi and Popsy will invite us back soon.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Curious George Unit Study - complete!

We finished our Curious George Unit Study. #2 enjoyed it very much. We ate bananas and doughnuts and banana popsicles (not all at once). We watched the movie Curious George, and we learned about monkeys, ostriches, and bicycles. (Did you know that the bicycle was invented 200 years ago? Or that ostriches can run 30 miles an hours for hours?)

Here is the list of books that we actually used:

About Monkeys

--A Monkey Baby Grows Up by Joan Hewett
--I didn't know that Chimps Use Tools and other amazing facts about apes and monkeys by Claire Llewellyn
--Apes and Monkeys by Donald R. Shire

About Ostriches

--Ostriches by Thane Maynard
--Big Egg by Molly Coxe

About H.A. and Margret Rey
--The Journey that Saved Curious George
That one was a bit over #2's head, but it was quite interesting to me.

About Bicycles

Bikes for rent! by Isaac Olaleye
Amazing bikes by Trevor Lord
The magic bicycle by Berlie Doherty
My rows and piles of coins by Tololwa M. Mollel

George Books to Read:
Curious George Rides a Bike
Cecily G and the Nine Monkeys

The Original Curious George
and every other George book we own - #2 has quite a collection

Other books by H.A. Ray
Whiteblack the Penguin Sees the World
Elizabite: Adventures of a Carnivorous Plant

#2 also enjoyed the construction of the Curious George Rides a Bike lapbook from In the Hands of a Child. I did most of the cutting, and he did most of the gluing. He did some writing on his own, and he colored the cover. He was in charge of placing things in the book, to which we added some Curious George scrapbooking paper and stickers that I got on sale (yahooo!) The project pack included activities about the book itself, the plot, monkeys, ostriches, and wheels. All of the answers were available in the project pack itself, though we found them in the books we used, also. The banana bread recipe can be found here.

Here are the pictures of his HOAC lapbook!

And here is #2 showing the lapbook off to Gramma!