Wednesday, January 31, 2007

When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.

When #2 wanted to go out to play in the falling snow this afternoon, I couldn't find my keys to open the back door. So, I popped the screen off the window next to the door and told him to climb on out.

You should have seen the look on his face. Climb out the window? "But Mom, I'm not allowed to do that!" If only the camera had been handy I reiterated that he cannot climb out any window without permission, but this time, it was the best way into the winter wonderland that our backyard had become.

Yes - a winter wonderland again. It's been three weeks since the ice storm, and our backyard was still icy at 9am this morning when the snow started coming down - and it continued for hours, waxing and waning. And we were out in it, running errands before we got stuck at home with really bad roads (remember, this is Oklahoma - we don't usually have this weather and our cities aren't prepared for it). We went to the dairy because it was our day for the milk co-op, and to Sam's and to Walmart and the library. BUT, we are now set - we have groceries and necessities for the next two weeks, we have books for the next two units, we have several movies from the library, and we should be entertained until the mercury climbs about 32 - next Tuesday. School was ho-hum today. Just the basics, because I was exhausted from running around all day - we'll really take time with it tomorrow, though - since we have nowhere to go anyway. :) I kind of like being snowed-in

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

In honor of those who communicate without language....

I'd like to direct you to a post that Especially Heather made this morning on her blog. Please go read it and give it some thought - and read my thoughts listed below if you'd like.

I've had the pleasure of raising a speechless child - at five, my sweet #1 had only a few sounds that meant anything, but he had a lot to say. He was not capable of controlling his larynx and producing many different sounds, but he could communicate his desires with little noises and signs or a voice-output device or, if nothing else, his eyes and smile.

And yet - so many thought he was mindless just because he was speechless. We'd get looks of pity in Walmart, mournful looks in doctors' offices, and strange stares just about everywhere.
Just because he was different, and therefore, I was different because he was mine.

But we weren't different - we are just people. His voice didn't cooperate, his body didn't perform as it should, and his mode of transport was always wheels, but if anyone of those who started had taken a second, they would have found themselves transformed by his smile. While no babies are born perfect, every baby is born a person. It degrades us all to rob anyone of that status.

Tagged: From A to Z

From A to Z:

A- Available or married? Married
B- Best Friend? Have several
C- Cake or Pie? Pie, please
D- Drink of Choice? Yummy coffee
E- Essential Item? Husband
F- Favorite Color? Purple, today
G- Gummi Bears or Worms? Worms - preferably sour
H- Hometown? Tulsa, Oklahoma
I- Indulgence? Starbucks
J- January or February? January - a nice quiet month
K- Kids? Four boys
L- Life is incomplete without? #1 - we miss him daily
M- Marriage Date? July 25, 1998
N- Number of Siblings? 1
O- Oranges or apples? Currently, oranges.
P -Phobias/Fears? Snakes
Q-Favorite Quote? Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. (Helen Keller)
R- Reason to Smile? My boys
S- Season? Winter
T- Tag three people! No, thanks - I'll just waste my own time. :)
U- Unknown fact about me: My shoulder just got used for a Kleenex. :)
V- Valentine's plans? Eat a frosted sugar cookie; spend the evening with my darling husband
W- Worst habit? Wasting too much time
Y- Your favorite food? Most things Mexican
Z- Zodiac? I don't care. :)

Bragging on #2

Since it turns out that I use my blog more for daily life than for our school, let me catch you all up. We are now on Week 15 of My Father's World Kindergarten (Elephants, by the way). #2 is reading move CVCs with effort. He's rather proud of himself. He's enjoyed several read alouds very much lately, and his ability to concentrate on a story is improving. His attention span is lengthening. We've worked very hard on obedience, and we are seeing great progress. He is maturing in so many ways! And yet, he's very boy - just as we'd expect. And very sweet. Tonight at dinner, he leaned over to me and said, "Mama, you're a great cook-er." (Apparenly his hot dog, cheese, bread (all separate, by the way) and banana were quite tasty). After a lot of work, he will taste new foods without gagging and take medication when necessary without throwning a fit. His progress amazes me. He is a big help (sometimes too helpful :))

I enjoy him immensely!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hello. My name is ThoughtfulMom, and I'm a curriculum junkie.

ComfyDenim and her G and Mini-Me came over to play with #2 and #3 this evening while The Bookworm King and I went to a wedding. It was great fun for all, and I still owe Comfy $4 for #2's happy meal - I'll pay her in the morning.

She and I got to talking a bit about our chosen Unit Studies that we are planning - and while I've got Galloping the Globe about halfway planned for next year and am just hunting down free notebooking resources and such to go with it and getting reading lists made, I found myself tempted to look at Konos Vol I. I've see II and III, so I know how it's all planned out and such, but it's so tempting to just buy a used copy at the local used curriculum store and have it on hand to refer to and enhance our literature studies.

This is really all because I'm having trouble fitting American history and geography into my verison of the Well-Trained Mind plan. You'd think that it wouldn't matter right now, especially since I've prayed about next year and GtG was my answer. And I've tlaked out next year's plan, and GtG was the answer. And I've talked to my husbnad who believes GtG is the answer. You'd think I'd just get the picture, but NOOOO... my mind starts wandering off on a rabbit trail.

I'm going to bed shortly - after a little more of planning out what God told me to plan for my kid. Not that Konos doesn't sound like wonderful fun - just that it's not God's plan for next year in my house.

I guess I must admit that I'm a curriculum junkie.

A Charlotte Mason Moment

We had never tried picture study before - but when Sugar Plum started posting her weekly "Fine Art of the Week" thread at The Homeschool Library, I decided we'd try it out. The first couple of pictures were amusing, but not really something I wanted to start with, but this week, she picked Mona Lisa. Ah HA! A piece of art I knew a bit about and that #2 needs to recognize. So, I printed out the image, and I put it on the refrigerator and waited for #2 to say something about it. About 20 minutes after I hung it up, he found it and started asking questions. The first one was, "Mama, what is that lady smiling at?" We talked a bit about the painting, and then moved on to other things. He later asked if he could color her himself, so I hunted down a coloring sheet for him, and this is the result (coloring became painting, by the way, and I couldn't find the watercolors.)

He was rather proud of his reproduction in green glitter paint (hence the sparkles). I was just glad to see him enjoying art - that is, of course, the point of picture study.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Homeschool Resources Meme

I've been tagged by Jessica at Jessica at Trivium Academy. Here are my answers:


Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Sally Clarkson

"Rainbow Resource, fabulous views inside products and great customer service. I also love their wishlist option!" I admit, I copied that straight from Jess - but I do love their wishlist feature, and it is a handy-dandy catalog and website. Their prices are very nice.

The pre-ETC series - (Get ready for the code, Get set for the code, Go for the code). This is great for some kids, but it really didn't do it for my kindergartener. He much prefers MCP Phonics K.

I like MFW Kindergarten - the phonics isn't perfect for us, but the units have been nice and I've enjoyed the resource, and so has #2.

Galloping the Globe

Ummmm.... there are many on my list at the moment. Know what I really want? A housekeeper - someone who comes and deep-cleans bathrooms and the kitchen dusts and vacuums once a week, leaving me only the keeping-up duties of the house, cooking, and being with my kids. As soon as our ship comes in, this will become a homeschool expense. If DH can pay a teenager $25 to mow the yard weekly in the summer, so that DH can spend his Saturday mornings doing something else, then I can pay someone to do my least favorite and most time-consuming tasks so that I can spend more time on the fun and important.

A searchable database of living books that can be searched by title, author, subject, appropriate age, geographic setting of book.... You get the picture. I want to type "Elephants Africa" and get a list of living books about the subjects.

I go back and forth between My Father's World, Sonlight, and WinterPromise. The Love to Learn Catalog is pretty cool too.



Comfy Denim
Nurturing Mommy

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Baby's First Painting

Yep - this baby is a little green. :) Don't worry - it was nontoxic paint. And very washable. #3 was trying to get into #2's and #2's BuddiE's paint, so I gave him some of his own.

Here's his handiwork:

He was so proud of himself - or of his mess - I'm not sure which.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Yes, folks, that is the time I got up this morning. I got up to feed #3, who was truly ready for breakfast round one (a bottle). While I was up with him, we woke up #2, who got up and came to chat, waking #3 up more and refusing to go back to bed and wait for me (earned some discipline for that). When I finally got #3 back to bed and went to deal with #2 - who told me he was hungry - so I went and got him a glass of water and the first #2-approved snack I came upon (a slice of homemade whole wheat bread). He refused to eat it, so I put it on his desk and left him in bed. Don't bite the hand that feeds you - especially not at 5:15am. As I left the room, #2 threw a high decibel screaming fit - and work #3 up again. By the time I finally made it back to my bed, it was 6:10 - 20 minutes before I needed to be up for the day.

I cried. I was so tired and so mad at #2. And there was my sweet husband, snoring away. I was mad at him, too - and yet I knew he had just gotten in bed when I got up to pee at 1:30.

It's now 9:15pm, and I'm done with Tuesday (It did get better - we went to Bible study and the pizza place, come home and did schoolwork, and then #2 went to Mimi's and #3 and I did errands and then went to pick #2. it wasn't a horrible day, but that was quite a icky morning. I'm hoping to never repeat that particular one.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Options for K-round 2

I need to think something through - what exactly do I want to do with #2 for school next year. So, I hope I don't bore you with my thoughts as I consider and plan.

#2 will be 5-5.5 when we start whatever plan I finally pick. He's rather intelligent. Right now, at 4.5 he's reading CVC words with some confidence and improving rapidly. He's going to finish MFW K at the end of April, and he will finish Singapore EarlyBird Math before that. He enjoys reading and being read to, and he has a fantastic imagination and a mind like a steel trap. He asks for school every day, and usually completes his work with no problems. My main goal for this year has been and continues to be to teach obedience and respect. (As one would expect, that goes better some days than others.)

Now, I have math and language arts picked out already. Following the suggestions in The Well-Trained Mind, they are:
Horizons K math
Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading (done first 40 lessons)
FIrst Language Lessons (start when we reach the appropriate place in the book
MCP Phonics A, and continuing (done K)
Spelling Workout A, and continuing
A Reason for Handwriting A, and continuing (done K)

Here are the current options for the rest of the subjects as I see them - I'm sure this will be one long entry, and I'm hoping that I'll talk myself around a useful circle and come to a decision. Any advice offered will be considered and appreciated.

Option#1: Sonlight Kindergarten (country/culture bent)
The plus to this program is that it is already planned out and it is about life in different places - which I think it a good thing for next year. While he is getting a grasp on time and history besides today, yesterday, and tomorrow, I know he can grab ahold of the idea of life in different areas of the world. The downsides is that all of the books used in this program are chapter books, and he just isn't ready for constantly reading from chapter books. I think he'd do better with a program that provides a gradual move from picture books to chapter books

Option#2: Winter Promise Animal Worlds
One major plus to this program is that it is already planned. I like the idea of this program, but the subject matter isn't perfect. Since we just spent this year on MFW K, we've done a lot of animal stuff. While he has enjoyed it, I don't know that he would enjoy spending another year on the animal kingdom. This program does have a mix of picture and chapter books and much information that would interest him, but I think he'd be bored if we spent another year just on animals.

Option#3: Winter Promise's new geography program for K-2
The largest downfall to this program right now is that is won't be released until April, when the new catalog comes out. If I'm going to do it, fine. But if it isn't the perfect thing, then I'll have to have another plan in place already. It may turn out to be just what I want - so I may start planning something else, but not make any purchases yet. That way I can still do this if it's perfect when I lay eyes on the new WP catalog.

Option#4: Galloping the Globe, which I would plan out completely now and begin using next fall
This is looking like the most viable option at the moment. It has several pluses - I can tailor it to #2's attention span and work to build his attention because I'll be picking books from lists instead of adhering to a particular schedule. I can incorporate the books from Animal Worlds and SL K that I think he would enjoy without having to use the ones that would most likely not hold his attention, and I can continue to fit in many books from our working reading list without having to drop other things. This unit study could be done in 40 weeks or it could be spread for a full year - since #2 needs his routine, we rarely take a week off. It's better for him to school one hour a day, six days a week, every week than to take weeks off - if we try, he begs for school until I make up something so it is easier to have something planned. I already own GtG, so I only would have to buy the spines and sort the books we have into appropriate subjects. I have a backlog of animal and geography based units from Hands of a Child and Live and Learn Press that could be incorporated into the program. Notebooking our way through would not be difficult either with the masters included in GtG and things available online and in the lapbooks and learning folders.

Option#5: Something of my own creation focusing on geography and world cultures
I want to acknowledge this as an option, but I'm more comfortable with modifying Galloping the Globe than I am with striking completely out on my own.

OK - looking back over my thinking, I can see that Galloping the Globe is probably the best choice. It's planning work for me, but that can be done little by little over the next few months, and it won't be difficult to have it done before the baby arrives. I'm off to see which of the spines are available at our local library so that I can see them before I buy them and start planning.

If you read this far, thanks for listening!


Since HomeschoolBlogger (my real blog is there) is having problems, you all can read my son's latest cute story here. (I'll paste it over there when HSB comes back up.) This is the reason for duel posting - I often have login issues here and they often have site issues there, but as long as I can get to one of the two, I'm happy.

ANYWAY - Here's what #2 told me upon seeing a drawing of a cat with a snake in its mouth
(We were reading Animals at Maple Hill Farm.)

"One day we might hit a snake and then pick it up and bring it home and throw it in the oven. Then we might hit a turkey and throw it in too. Then we could have Thanksgiving - or maybe Christmas." :)

Not that we have ever eaten roadkill for dinner, but his little mind is always running, and you never know where you'll find him next.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Bedtime ... definately bedtime

It's been a really long day. #2 has pushed every boundary and bounced on every available nerve and pushed all my buttons. #3 missed his morning nap because we were at Bible study and only slept for an hour this afternoon. I'm exhausted.

We did school during the hour that the baby was asleep, so that did get done - and that was the one thing that #2 did NOT give me a hard time about. Everything else he was determined that he would do things his way in his timing. I didn't let him get away with it, but it made for a really long Tuesday.

I'm behind in the Iliad, I'm behind on another project, I have two rooms that need paint, two weeks of school to schedule as soon as DH gets back from the library, and do you know what I'm going to do with my evening?

I'm going to bed with pillows propping my pregnant self in a comfy position.

I promise to try to be more positive tomorrow in the morning, after a good long sleep.

It's official....

the ultrasound tech circled a picture of the boy parts. Our precious number four, who is well on the way, is certainly a boy. He's also healthy - growing perfectly with all organs and systems apparently intact - and he's busy and big, so there is no fear that he has cytochrome c oxidase deficiency or any other mitochondrial disease. Since our oldest son died in 2005 from COX deficiency, that is a relief. I'm off to change

Monday, January 8, 2007

About socialization.....

I had a friend ask me about the big S word, and I thought I'd record my answer here for all posterity. :) At least that way if I need it again, I can just come grab it. I'm sure I'll need it again.

As for socialization - if she can teach her kid how he/she how to behave in public and how to treat people properly and she takes him/her to the grocery store, the park, the library, McDonald's, the ice cream store - if she keeps her kid with her and teaches/trains behavior in all those areas, then the kid will be BETTER socialized than the herd (yes, I said herd) of school kids who learned how to behave in public from each other instead of from responsible adults. Her child will know that teasing is cruel, making fun of other's differences is unacceptable, physical violence is wrong, and that everything goes better if one is courteous and polite BECAUSE he learned all those things from his parents. If you think about it, elementary school kids - and especially middle school kids - tease, torture, hurt, and are generally rude because the herd follows the most powerful leader, and that leader has usually seized control - think back to those who made fun of us at Carver because we weren't the most beautiful :) They definately weren't the cream of the crop. What good does it do to have the herd mentality when you grow up to work and live with people of all ages?

Monday, January 1, 2007

First blog of 2007

I wanted to take a minute today to post some Not-Quite-Resolutions and wish you all a Happy New Year! I say Not Quite Resolutions because I've never made a resolution that I didn't wind up breaking by the third week of January. I'm going to think of these differently - God gives us all so much grace in everything we do, I'm going to give myself plenty of grace in these resolutions. I want to keep these goals in mind and refer back to them often. And if I don't meet my mark, I'll just keep trying.

Anyway - here are my plans:

1. Spend more time in prayer and Bible study. I've failed to make time for this over the last year, and I'm hurting for it.

2. Spend less time on the computer and more time doing my job - after all, my family is MUCH more important to me than my blog. Though, I won’t quit blogging because it is such a good way to chronicle our adventures, and it doesn’t get as backed up as scrapbooking does (I’m currently cropping January 2005 - I have much work to do there, too.)

3. Stick to the budget, which I need to rearrange in order to make it even feasible - but sticking to it and paying down debt is important to both me and my husband.

4. Read more and kill brain cells while watching TV less. This is actually a goal for my whole family. We all watch more than we need to, and while I don’t want to go to the extreme of getting rid of the darn thing (which does have its appropriate uses), I do need to curb its usage and turn it off more often.

5. Declutter and CLEAN. After all, we do have another baby coming in short order. We have to make room for him or her. If I’m not playing with the computer or watching TV, it should be a whole lot easier to get things cleaned up, huh?

So, those are my plans - things I’d like to change in 2007. There are a few things I’d like to learn:

1. How to shut off the mind and go to sleep when tired.
2. How to swim laps for exercise (would involve improving my skills)
3. How to care for a newborn, a 15 mo. old, and nearly 5 year old with grace and without losing my mind .

I have a list of things I’d like to read, too, but I’ll leave that post for another day. Right now, I’m trying to conquer Fagles’ translation of Iliad, and it is VERY slow going. I’m never going to meet the schedule at the Great Books Partnership.

Happy New Year, my friends, and many many blessing in 2007!